Nota de premsa

Industrial tourism as an emerging sector after the Covid-19

The industry and its close link with tourism was the subject of the third and last Innovation Brunch of the Hub b30 of this 2021. This event, which was held on October 29 in virtual format, was co-organized by the UAB and the Vallès Occidental Regional Council, brought together representatives of the Barcelona Provincial Council, the XATIC network, MNACTEC and presented the success stories of the company HP and the Alba Synchrotron.

The opening of the event was given by the President of the Regional Council of Vallès Occidental (CCVO), Ignasi Giménez, who stressed the importance of tourism as an industrial sector, the so-called industry without chimneys, and that in the the region has a presence with 2,500 tourism companies that provide employment to about 25,000 people ”. According to Giménez, the County Council works with a vision of tourism “as an element that is able to be cohesive, an element of knowledge and wealth of the territory.”

The Brunch was moderated by Xavier Font, Head of the Technical Office of Tourism of the Diputació de Barcelona, ​​who contextualized the topic. The health crisis has led to a crisis of mobility, and this has profoundly affected tourism activity. “Although the concept of tourism must be understood in a broader way, as an economy of the visitor, all that generates an economic activity from the visits is tourism, and the visits are not only activities of leisure but also activities related to work, socialization ”, said Font. Local tourism, however, is not a new concept, “for more than thirty years, the province of Barcelona has been a destination that we have part of the demand for tourism in the territory itself.” For Font, we need to have a broad view when we think of industrial tourism because “when we talk about industrial tourism we refer to industrial archeology or our legacy of industrial heritage, but also to the opportunities that the living industry has to generate models of business with visits ”.

Jordi Garreta, director of the Xarxa de Turisme Industrial de Catalunya (XATIC), was the first speaker of the session and presented this network which, made up of 36 municipalities, is committed to industrial tourism to become a tourist reference. They have a specific program of living industry, of active companies that offer visits to the public, and they organize the Week of the Industrial Tourism. “We work with the idea of ​​turning heritage and living industry into a benchmark for tourism. It is necessary to connect this offer with the rest of the tourist activity in the territory “, according to Garreta.

Anna Sánchez, as head of Tourism at the CCVO, then explained that the region’s commitment to industrial tourism is because “it allows us to position ourselves and make our offer unique; the competitiveness of a destination depends on the specialization and segmentation of the public, but also on the authenticity and sustainability of the proposal ”.

One of the success stories of industrial tourism that was presented during the day was that of the company Hewlett-Packard. Eva Blanco, HP’s Public Affairs Manager, explained HP Sant Cugat’s strategy regarding visits. They host a customer experience center, where you can see all the machines and applications in the graphic arts sector, the portfolio of personal computers, printers, 3D area, etc., which attracts more than 6,000 visits a year. They also receive visits from other companies, students, administrations, entities, among others; which brings the total to about 8,000 visits each year. In addition, they hold programming competitions for schools across the state and a solidarity day organized by the workers themselves.

Another success story was the White Synchrotron. Alejandro Sánchez, director of Connection with Industry at the Alba Synchrotron, explained how they have managed to become a pole of attraction for visitors and receive around 2,200 international visits each year. They also hold an open day that brings 2,400 people to their unique scientific facilities, visits from companies and students, hosts research staff from around the world, meetings of European projects, among others.

After a round of debates and questions, Jaume Perarnau, director of the Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia, closed the Innovation Brunch. According to Perarnau, it is necessary to limit the offer of industrial tourism “because there are many proposals that we see exactly the same in another type of tourism. If we talk about industrial heritage, for me it cannot include artisanal activities, activities that are promoted as non-industrial. ” Besides, industrial tourism, for Perarnau, must serve to literacy on the knowledge of science and technology.