BCN Conference on Sustainable Tourism for Development

Congress : International Conference Sustainable Tourism for Development in the Framework of the new Urban Agenda

Venue: Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 17 – 19 May, 2017, Barcelona

Client : Barcelona Activa, Barcelona City Council

Kuoni Congress successfully won a public bid to provide services for this International Conference to promote Sustainable Tourism, thanks to the sustainability measures it was able to include in its pitch to the public organisation “Barcelona Activa” (part of Barcelona City Council).  

The International Conference for Sustainable Tourism presented a comprehensive programme of Keynote Speakers and Round Table discussions relating to the promotion of sustainability in tourism, and was specifically organised to coincide with the dates of the 2017 UN Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. 200 delegates from public entities were invited to attend the event, mainly from Spain but a limited number of attendees also attended from other countries in Europe, and further afield. Various press representatives (national and international) were also present to report on the day’s findings. 


In the run up to the show, Kuoni Congress assured that communication to delegates included references to the city’s public transport system, as well as information regarding accessibility facilities for any delegates that may require these services during their visit to the conference.  

Kuoni Congress also sourced a Hotel from the Ilunion chain for the Conference’s Faculty. Ilunion Hotels is the only hotel chain in the world with the Universal accessibility certification. The hotel group belongs to ONCE, a Spanish Association for the Blind, and a great example of the social economy that is committed to corporate social responsibility and equality. Ilunion is a leader in the inclusion of disabled workers in Spain. Ilunion hotels combine design with accessibility for everyone, offering a modern range of bedrooms and hospitality. Furthermore, the hotel’s location at only 10 minutes walking distance from the Conference venue meant that the organisation were able to reduce some more of the event’s potential carbon emissions.


For the event Kuoni Congress arranged for the delegate passes to be printed on seed paper, an alternative that is not only environmentally friendly but contributed towards the delegate’s awareness of the impact of their participation on the environment. The seed badges were a huge hit with at least one delegate sharing the novel idea on the social media site “Instagram”. 
The catering service was another area where Kuoni Congress were able to promote responsible practice, collaborating with “Cuina Justa”, a catering company where 80% of the staff base is comprised by individuals who encounter issues related to mental health and/or may find themselves at risk of social exclusion. Kuoni Congress also assured that “Cuina Justa” provided a vegetarian menu in keeping with their own commitment to reducing carbon emissions at their Congresses.


Post Event

Following the event our Barcelona team arranged for the NGO Nutricion Sin Fronteras (Nutrition Without Borders) to come to the venue where they were able to collect 20kg of leftover food which was then distributed between two social centres located in disadvantaged areas of the city.  

The client “Barcelona Activa” was very happy with the services and sustainability added value that the Barcelona team was able to provide. This experience has been vital in demonstrating capacity both internally and to Kuoni Congress clients, that Kuoni Congress has the tools to offer services that are conscious and capable of offsetting their own impact.  

Rosa Bada of Barcelona Activa said of the event, “Working with Kuoni Congress has been a great experience for Barcelona City Council's Tourism Department. We had the support of a very professional and great team (female team!) that helped us to organize our Conference in the best and most efficient way you could expect, whilst maintaining a comfortable and happy work process. However the most important factor was the value added by Kuoni Congress in assuring that the Conference was itself a sustainable product, offering us a wide variety of different actions related to paperless production, energy and waste reduction, social impact and social accommodation among others: all of this set the perfect backdrop for our 200 delegates to debate about sustainable tourism in a sustainable way!!” 

Kuoni Congress began its sustainability journey back in early 2016, and hopes to achieve the ISO 20121 certificate in 2018. The division will address many topics in its commitment to reduce its impact and promote responsible business practice, a portion of which coincide with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of :


4. Quality Education  
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth  
6. Clean Water & Sanitation  
7. Affordable and Clean Energy
9. Industry Innovation and Infrastructure
12. Responsible Consumption and Production  
13. Climate Action     

For more information regarding our strategy please visit