Valencia claims to have become the first city worldwide to verify and certify its carbon footprint from tourist activity.

A new sustainable tourism strategy 2030 has been adopted by the Spanish destination after research revealed the impact of tourists on the environment.

The findings are being used to contribute a commitment to become carbon-neutral by 2025 and ultimately make Valencia the world’s leading tourist destination with zero environmental impact.

The destination wants to address the challenges of the climate emergency as well as the need to recover sustainably after the Covid-19 pandemic.

A study for the Visit Valencia Foundation found that all tourism activity produced 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 last year, of which 81% related to tourists’ transport to the city but only 0.92% to the use of transport within the city.

Emissions from all tourist activity were discovered to be equivalent to one third of the carbon footprint generated by residents’ food consumption.

The study measured the sources of carbon emissions produced by tourism activity in ten different areas, including public and private infrastructure; water management; solid waste; transport to and within the city; tourists, day visitors; cruise passengers and accommodation.

Visit Valencia is examining the potential for energy generation using renewable sources, the possibility of having a fully electric transport system and maximising two million square metres of natural spaces such as the Turia Garden or La Albufera in absorbing CO2.