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Special World Tourism Day: CETT, link, and transmitter of knowledge of the sector 25.09.2020

Special World Tourism Day: CETT, link, and transmitter of knowledge of the sector

Tourism is a strategic sector and one of the main economic engines of our country. CETT contributes to the creation and transmission of knowledge, a contribution that is highlighted in the various articles and interviews conducted by experts from the center, to add value in their areas of expertise.

Dr. Maria Abellanet, CETT's CEO, has spoken on several occasions about the context of tourism and how to move forward. In this sense, in a talk in Betevé TV, she highlighted "two of the challenges of tourism that are now the challenges of the city of Barcelona: sustainability, which incorporates economic, social, cultural and environmental, and social cohesion, which also includes saving jobs." Abellanet also stated that "training and research are extremely important, that is, we must be recognized as a sector which is also based on the knowledge and professionalism of its people".

In the same line, in an interview with Smart Travel News, Abellanet highlighted that "training oriented to the sector, which integrates into its program the needs of companies and tourist destinations, will have greater value to face the challenges of the current circumstances". Respecting the current context of the sector, Abellanet states in an article in La Vanguardia newspaper that "we have a great chance to give tourism a new focus and integrate values such as sustainability, knowledge or digitalization".

Cultural tourism is another of the questions that CETT experts have extensively dealt with. Dr. Alexandra Georgescu Paquin, coordinator of the Master's in Tourism Management Innovation in the Specialitzation in Tourism Management of Natural and Cultural Heritage, in the article Cultural tourism dematerializes during lockdown, reviews the initiatives taken during the period of confinement in the cultural field. Dr. Georgescu, together with Dr. Jordi Arcos Pumarola, professor and researcher at TURCiT (Research Group on Tourism, Culture, and Territory), reflected on the article The Urban Sketching movement, a unique opportunity to travel from home on the uniqueness of the USK movement. Dr. Arcos Pumarola says, "The drawings of USK tell a story and add meanings that help us get close to the individual experience of the sketcher”.

On the other hand, Marta Conill Tetuà, a researcher at TURCiT and editor of Tourism & Heritage Journal, writes in the article An inclusive city through heritage: Education city and tourism that "undoubtedly, cities are a space of encounter for both residents and visitors" and adds that "heritage can become an element of mediation between residents and visitors."

Besides, Dr. Eugeni Osácar, director of research at CETT-UB, reflected on the management of tourist activity in urban areas such as Barcelona in the program Catalunya Migdia on Catalunya Ràdio. In this sense, Osácar stressed that "Barcelona must show a clear cultural commitment."

The experts have also reflected about film tourism. They spoke of the rise of this type of tourism in Catalonia to ARA newspaper, in which Dr. Eugeni Osácar, director of research at CETT, stressed that "Catalonia is a very heterogeneous territory: in less than two hours you can find historical heritage, beaches, and mountains. And the transport network is good too. This is the reason why Catalonia remains so attractive." They have also approached the role of film tourism as a key factor in marketing destinations. In the article, Esther Velasco Ferreiro, professor, and researcher at TURCiT, indicates that "cinema can become a powerful means of promoting tourist destinations, especially those that see tourism as a solution for diversifying their territory."

Sustainability is also an aspect that needs incorporating into tourism management. Dr. Jordi Arcos, professor, and researcher at TURCiT, has published an article for the International Organization of Social Tourism (ISTO) in which he refers to the future of tourism, emphasizing that "although this year and the next few years will be complicated for companies, tourism as an activity is not likely to become extinct soon”. In this line, Dr. José Antonio Pérez-Aranda, director of the University School of Hotel Management and Tourism CETT-UB, has participated in a study that investigates the differences between consumers and their willingness to pay more to stay in a sustainable hotel. Moreover, in a conference organized by Turijobs on the future of education in Tourism and Hospitality, Perez-Aranda stressed that "CETT-UB is committed to sustainability; we must give importance to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in the educational curriculum. Tourism, society, and the whole world need us to work on the completion of the SDGs."

On the other hand, Ramon Serrat Mulà, member of TURCiT, explains in the article Sustainable tourism in Mediterranean mountains, Project EMbleMatiC (Emblematic Mediterranean Mountains as Coastal destinations of excellence), in which CETT has participated; EMbleMatiC " has the objective of designing and testing on the ground a new tourist offer, based on the territorial and human resources of the nine mountains that have formed part of the project, drawing an alternative to the traditional offer of seaside mass tourism."

The coexistence between visitors and residents, is a matter that is regularly being debated, as well as the use of such spaces. Marta Conill-Tetuà, in City spaces as meeting points, emphasizes that "coexistence, respect, ethics and the values of civility are one of the basic pillars for the balance between the city day to day life and the touristic uses of its spaces." Here, too, Dr. Daniel Imbert-Bouchard, coordinator of the Master's in Tourism Management Innovation in the Specialization in Urban Destinations, indicates in the article Overtourism, a debate, that "tourism activity must be planned from a wholistic and responsible perspective, so that it can contribute, among other things, to the well-being of residents and visitors, to the promotion of a good coexistence among residents and the reduction of the imbalances caused by tourism." Aurélie Cerdan, a researcher at TURCiT, reflects on the role of tourism in the quality of urban life and stresses that "tourism development in cities acts as a catalyst for positive impacts: increasing the cultural and leisure offer, generating employment and economic benefits and, enhancing cultural elements and local traditions."

People are key to both the present and the future of tourism, since, as Nuria Louzao, professor and researcher of the GRATiR research group point out, "the human factor is key to the success of experience management", and she adds that "the ability of the sector's personnel to personalize the service and satisfy the new needs of the consumer is especially important." Louzao also states in the article The recovery of tourism from talent management that at CETT-UB "our function is to be alert to changes and know how to adjust to the needs to give a better response."

Research in tourism is fundamental for getting to know the sector and making decisions based on rigorous data. CETT and Vodafone have presented the study Tourism in the post-COVID-19 era, which provides keys for economic recovery and deals with the future challenges facing the companies. Also in the framework of CETT's commitment to generate and transfer expert knowledge, Dr. Oriol Anguera-Torrell, director of the GRATiR of CETT-UB (Grup de Recerca en Allotjaments Turístics i Restauració), has published the results of a study on the impact of the COVID-19 on the hotel sector, which analyzed how COVID-19 has conditioned some decisions of the Spanish hotel establishments in the short, medium and long term.

Dr. Maria del Pilar Leal Londoño, professor and researcher at TURCiT analyzes in an article the changes that have occurred in the food consumption and tourism habits during the period of confinement. "COVID-19 has not only affected the tourist practice, but also the food consumption habits of consumers."

CETT-UB promotes not only the training of professionals in the sector but also the promotion of applied research as a source of scientific knowledge and transference, a key element in the current context for the recovery and transformation of these sectors. Research is one of the pillars of CETT-UB, and therefore we work to contribute to the knowledge of the tourism, hotel, and gastronomy sectors, with the aim of contributing to the excellence of these areas.

Some examples are the III CETT Smart Tourism Congress Barcelona, a project linked to the UB CETT Chair of Tourism, Hotel, and Gastronomy, a platform to generate and share knowledge about the challenges and opportunities caused by the COVID-19 health crisis and the smart management of destinations and companies.

CETT's role of linking and transmitting knowledge between the academic world and the sector has also been decisive at the time of becoming a member of the Board of Directors of Affiliate Members of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

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