Madrid Precious Time
If effectively developed, tourism can play a strategic role in the successful development of cities through its positive impact on economic growth, sustainable development, preservation of cultural heritage and the empowerment of local communities. In today´s rapidly changing world, cities are constantly growing and facing new challenges such as higher competition among destinations or the emergence of new consumers´ profiles. These new elements force cities to continuously adapt to new demands of consumers, requiring flexibility and innovation from their sides to fully harness the potential cities tourism has to offer. This area is addressed in point 6 of the Istanbul Declaration on City Tourism, an instrumental document laying the foundations for UNWTO´s work in the field of city tourism, which sets forth the objective to “implement innovative strategies to provide the city with new and more specialized products with high added value, addressing niche markets and upgrading the quality of the visitor experience”.
In line with the above, UNWTO applied the product development methodology to triggle the development of innovative tourism products in urban environments, tackling several challenges identified in the Istanbul Declaration on City Tourism. The project specifically targeted luxury travelers and was designed to assist urban destinations interested in positioning themselves as premium destinations. It gathered public and private sector partners from diverse areas such as technology, hospitality, arts and culture, handicrafts, retail shoppers, design and insurance, working together under a guiding theme to create new and innovative products to enhance the visitor´s experience and increase the value of the destinations.
The pilot project was conducted in the city of Madrid in 2014 in collaboration with the Madrid City Council and the support of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism of Spain. Major partners included: InnovaTaxfree, Joyerías Suárez, MasterTour Alliance, Microsoft, Meliá, Museo Thyssen, NH Hotels, Roberto Verino, Saborea España, Segittur and the University of Valencia. The UNWTO Madrid Precious Time project was officially launched on the occasion of ITB in 2015 with the participation of Mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella, the Spanish State Secretary of Tourism, Isabel Borrego, and UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
The model is ready to be applied in other cities.