The Unión de Consumidores de Galicia (UCGAL) and the Asociación Portuguesa Para la Defensa del Consumidor (DECO) organized in the city of Braga the forum Turismo sin fronteras: los derechos de los consumidores. The conference, held in the Lúcio Craveiro De la Silva Library, aimed to analyse the functioning of cross-border tourism between the Galician community and the north of Portugal, as well as the problems affecting the various agents involved. The forum, which is the first of its kind to be held, is part of the collaboration agreement that UCGAL and DECO signed last year to promote better consumer relations between Galicia and Portugal.
The forum, which had almost a hundred attendees, was opened with the round table The new paths for cross-border tourism in which participated the director general of the DECO, Ana Tapadinhas, the president of Tourism Port and North Portugal, Luis Pedro Martins, the director of Tourism Competitiveness of Galicia, José Luis Maestro Castiñeiras, and the Secretary of State for Consumer Protection, João de la Silva Torres.
Then, Susana Conde, entrepreneur and consultant in sustainable tourism and ecotourism and representative for Spain of the Global Council on Sustainable Tourism, put on the table the different problems surrounding current tourism (access to housing, quality of services) and solutions to be adopted so that tourism activity develops in a harmonious way for locals, visitors and the environment. Along these lines, members of UCGAL and DECO commented on their experiences as tourists on their trips to northern Portugal and Galicia, respectively.
A story in which they pointed out the positive and negative aspects of their consumer relations, from the operation of tolls, the service of the premises in which they stayed or ate to the accessibility to monuments and points of tourist interest. Rocío Arnoso Moure, directive of the UCGAL, and the jurist of the DECO, Lúcia Miranda, took as reference to legislation on consumption of both territories to evaluate the trip.
Awareness and sustainability, pillars of the future
Finally, the table The tourist consumer: concerns and challenges brought together the president of the Galician Tourism Cluster, Cesáreo Pardal, José Antonio García Jurjo, president of the Association of Galician Municipalities of the French Way; Altino Bessa, councillor for Tourism and Consumer Protection of the Braga Municipal Chamber; Rui Marques, general director of the Braga Commercial Association; and Joaquim Figueiredo, from the perspective of residents; to give an account, from his area of work, of the demands and needs of consumers.
The secretary general of the UCGAL, Miguel Lopez Crespo, and the president of the delegation of DECO de Miño, Glória Felgueiras, were responsible for closing the day not without first warning about the need to continue working together on ideas aimed at careful planning of tourism activity so that the goal of sustainability becomes a reality, said Lopez Crespo. In this sense, Felgueiras placed the conscience and the sensitization as two of the basic piares in which to lean to reach such an end.