A few days ago, we had the honour of being interviewed by the BARCELONA+ SOSTENIBLE (B+S) network of the City Council, which deals with various topics contributed by sustainable entities and companies. On this occasion, we talk about BarcelonArt of Travel, the purpose of the Agency, where we are going and how we offer the client different reasons why they should hire us. Among them, and of course, our sustainable culture, knowledge of the destination, location, vocation of service and KM0.
But without further ado, we would like to share with you the full interview and thank the B+S team from the bottom of our hearts for the brilliant work they do in this area.
“We hope that our legacy will be useful for young people and that they will be able to live with quality tourism.” Montserrat Anda, director of BarcelonArt for Travel.
What does your organization do?
Barcelona Art of Travel is an author’s travel agency: we prepare everything related to the destination experience, with details, before offering it to the visitor. We are experts in the area, official guides who know how traveling can be an art.
What role does sustainability play in the field of tourism?
In addition to belonging to Biosphere, which audits, trains and advises us to be more sustainable, we attach great importance to the environmental impact that may arise from tourism activity.
We offer activities that are not only sustainable economically, socially and with our natural environment, but also help to encourage the local economy of the sector, demassifying the most visited areas, offering a unique experience in places far from the busiest.
On your website you talk about responsible and unique tourism, with a local approach and away from mass tourism. How did you manage not to fall into the clichés of Barcelona’s tourist spaces?
Certainly, in the end it is the market that chooses, and yes, they ask us for tourism that includes visiting the busiest places, such as the Sagrada Família or the Camp Nou, and we do it. But we always try to offer it in a unique way, entering through places that only the villagers of the area know, or arranging the visit with a breakfast with a former footballer… informing of possible less crowded destinations in order to diversify the tourist offer, offering visitors new places to enjoy their unique experience.
What is the Decalogue of the Responsible Traveler?
It is to become aware of a series of actions that reduce the environmental impact. Putting them in writing makes us responsible for our actions. These are initiatives as simple as teaching how to recycle a glass bottle and throw it in the appropriate bin. Or to inform about the protection of native species and plants in nature reserves. Or the need to save water, without wasting it.
In practice, how do you work to become more sustainable? What are your main lines of work in this regard?
We have digitized with new technologies, avoiding the use of paper, and everything we print is on recyclable paper. We also engage with companies like ours, to stimulate the local economy. We identify our partners and suppliers who are part of Biosphere or, at least, are sustainable in their actions. From hotels to restaurants, catering, and transportation… Although this last point is more complicated, due to the little infrastructure that exists in the area to recharge electric vehicles.
Why should an organization like yours exist in Barcelona? What is your contribution?
We are a company that avoids formalism; rather, we meet the needs of visitors, as long as their expectations are realistic. Giving a better service to quality tourism that seeks a local experience, without pretensions, but with the vision of a person who puts his interests before those of the traveler. By putting ourselves in their place, we surprise people who, even though they are locals, were unaware of certain characteristics and places. The vocation of service motivates us to offer the best experience: it starts from the moment the visitor steps on the ground, after leaving the plane, with a meet and greet, until we take them to a hotel away from the busiest areas.
When and how did you hear about B+S? What got you involved?
We got to know Barcelona + Sustainable through social media. We are interested in their sustainable contribution to the city, through the tourism sector, in which we specialise.
Have you started any initiative or project with any other entity in the B+S Network since you joined?
We are a small business and we have our limitations. However, we are always open to new projects or initiatives, collaborating in the best possible way.
What are you most proud of about your job?
When the visitor leaves, they do so with gratitude and with a smile from ear to ear.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the B+S Network for their work and support. We hope that our legacy will be useful for young people and that they will be able to live with quality tourism. There have been cases of tourismphobia, due to the terrible impact that can arise from poor tourism planning. Our goal is to de-massify tourism, offering experiences such as a Catalan lute paddle in the Mediterranean Sea, or a visit to the other Gaudí, who is not only La Sagrada Familia or Parc Güell.
Link to watch the interview and more: https://www.barcelona.cat/barcelonasostenible/ca/entitats-i-empreses/bulleti/688/lentrevista-barcelona-art-of-travel