The coastal city of Gijon offers a vast array of cultural, gastronomic and sporting activities, not to mention the enviable greenbelt that surrounds it. It possesses all the elements it needs to constitute one of the most responsible major cities in the north of Spain, on both a national and international level, in terms of sustainability. That’s why we are the second city in the world to have been awarded the Biosphere World Urban Destination, positioning us at the very forefront of sustainable tourism.
So why has Gijon been given this award? Gijon boasts all the qualities it needs: in both culture and gastronomy, that when combined with its lush green landscape and well-tended environment, produce a highly-valued quality of life for its residents and a tourism model which is firmly based on quality and the satisfaction of its visitors. Some of the strong points that have transformed Gijon into a Biosphere destination are:
- Its ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITMENT: over 85% of the region is rural. The Atlantic Botanic Gardens are outstanding and unique on the Cantabrian Cornice, encompassing an area of 25 hectares and home to around 30,000 plants. It is here where the Tragamón Oak Grove stands, deep-rooted, with over 400 years of history.
Gijon works with environmental plans and strategies such as the “Covenant of Mayors” which is committed to reducing CO2 levels by 20% before 2020, or the European Tourism Indicator System (ETIS), which improves the sustainable management of tourism in participating destinations within the European Union.
- CULTURE AND TRADITION: Gijon is a city with deep-seated shared values, and with its countless activities and museums, tourists can discover its history and local customs first-hand. It also holds an Ecological and Crafts Market, where local traditional artisan culture is brought back to the spotlight, encouraging the consumption of organic and environmentally-friendly products.
- SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY: The fleet of public transport has been designed to be completely accessible for people with disabilities, is equipped with emission controlling devices, and uses biofuels. The Tourist Bus has environmental certifications that demonstrate its firm commitment to establishing a system based on environmental efficiency. Meanwhile, the 26 km of urban bike paths connect up to the 40 km of greenways, offering cyclists a 66 km long cycle network.
- SOCIAL COMMITMENT: Gijon has implemented different programmes designed to drive forward economic activity, create employment and promote sustainable development. Furthermore, it ensures that the most v
ulnerable members of society receive the attention they deserve, as well as covering their basic needs. The “Integral Accessibility and Non-discrimination Plan” is noteworthy, aiming to create a city that is accessible for all.
- OUTSTANDING FOR ITS QUALITY: Awarded the best quality tourist destination in 2012 by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism in Spain, and recognised for its work undertaken in 2014, Gijon tourism stands out for its solid foundations in areas of innovation, quality and the environment.
As such, Gijon has taken on a commitment and has shown its clear backing for working towards consolidating the city as a sustainable tourist destination with a difference, constructing a benchmark in terms of innovation, the environment, responsibility and quality.- PRIVATE AND COMMITTED BACKING: In keeping with the Biosphere certification, the “Gijon Responsible Tourism, Committed Companies” project has been implemented, with distinguished establishments: Infogijón, hotels such as the Hotel Abba playa Gijón, the Hotel Tryp Gijón Rey and the Parador de Gijón Molino Viejo which occupies an old mill, as well as the Centres of Touristic Interest, the Laboral City of Culture and the Laboral City of Art and Industrial Creation. These companies work hand in hand to develop activities that improve both the destination and companies alike, sharing the city’s objective.