1 January 2019. Benidorm has become the first Smart Tourism Destination (STD) in the world after being awarded the Q Mark by the Institute for Quality Tourism in Spain, following completion of the audit conducted by AENOR as per the UNE 178501 standard on the Smart Tourism Destination Management System. AENOR. This standard was promoted by Segittur, the State Company for Tourism and Innovation, part of the Secretary of State for Tourism, and was developed by the Spanish Association for Standardisation, UNE.
Making this announcement was the mayor, Toni Pérez, who recalled how Benidorm has been working since 2016 to achieve this certification, thus becoming the first Smart Tourism Destination (STD). The process of implementing the Smart Tourism Destination Management System (STDMS) in accordance with the UNE Standard was coordinated by Mercedes Llorca, who headed the Managing Body. The Managing Body featured municipal specialists: the manager of Visit Benidorm, Leire Bilbao; and the technical advice of the manager of the Inteligencia Turística company, Celia Romero.
The mayor emphasised how Benidorm “has worked hard to be part of the intelligent tourism management model" that will define “the repositioning of destinations”, and added that “in the very near future, tourism and the success of a destination will be inconceivable without the application of smart tourism, an application in which Benidorm is already a pioneer”.
The president of the Institute for Quality Tourism in Spain, Miguel Mirones, congratulated the mayor of Benidorm and the municipality as a whole for being awarded the Q Mark and invited other municipalities and destinations in Spain to initiate the certification process and become Smart Destinations. “This certification raises the quality of the tourism experience, encourages constant improvement, enhances the relationship between residents and visitors and makes it easier to adapt to the needs of the latter through information and data processing".
For Sergio González, Manager of Product Innovation and Development at AENOR, “Benidorm, which was a pioneer in certifying Monitoring and Intelligence Management Systems, now expands its commitment to quality tourism through its certification as a Smart Tourism Destination, which places it at the cutting edge in the sector. With this certificate, Benidorm commits to putting tourists at the centre of its policies by anticipating their needs and providing answers through innovation, new technologies and sustainability”.
The UNE 178501 Standard on STDMS lays out the requirements that must be met by any destination seeking to be smart, which revolve around five aspects: Sustainability, Accessibility, New Technologies, Governance and Innovation.
The scope of the certification audit is the entire municipality of Benidorm, as well as the specialisation level of the tourism products: Sports, Health and Well-being, Congresses, Gastronomy, Office Film, Shopping and Green Benidorm.
The audit report notes as strong points the commitment to innovation and to developing Benidorm as a STD, as evidenced by the work that has been done in recent years, the participation in the projects that are being carried out in this area, and the involvement by everyone interviewed during the audit. It also highlights the creation of the STD Smart Office: Innovation and Intelligence Technical Office, and the development of a tourism monitoring and intelligence system.