Elimination of the paper visiting card


This year, the Bilbao Convention Bureau has finally managed to eliminate paper visiting cards.

Until now, when the Bureau visited a conference or exhibition, it would distribute visiting cards with their contact details to customers to enable them to stay in contact with the Bureau.

However, from now on, customers can visit the Bilbao stand and scan a QR code with all the necessary details.

This is one more step in the Bureau’s digitalisation process, eliminating the physical visiting card and preventing the creation of more waste.

15th Meeting of the Association of University Conference Offices and University Foundations


Last March, the director of the Bilbao Convention Bureau accepted the invitation from Alcalá de Henares University and visited the university to talk about the transformation of the city of Bilbao in the recent years, and the major commitment made to sustainability, the visit is part of the 15th Meeting of the Association of University Conference Offices and University Foundations. From being a completely industrialised city to the city today, where the city’s face lift and its major commitment to sustainability are clearly visible, have been recognised around the world. 

Bilbao, one of the least contaminated cities in the world

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The non-profit organisation Berkeley Earth has drawn up a list of the least contaminating cities in the world, and Bilbao is one of them.

Bilbao has made it onto the Air Quality City List, that is, it is among the 40 least contaminating cities in the world. The ranking assesses the air quality by measuring the PM 2,5. The air quality in Bilbao is excellent all year round. The list can be consulted at the following link:

The legacy is confirmed as key to the events


The legacy left behind after a conference in the city is becoming more and more important. Organisers seek ways of leaving a positive impact on the destination city and this is why it is necessary to work to offer them different ways of doing so.

It would be impossible to do so without the collaboration of the destination Bureau. Therefore, with a mission more directed towards economic development than simply filling hotels, the Bilbao Convention Bureau is located in the department for economic development of the city council.

Carbon footprint calculation


The objective, always seeking sustainability at business events, is to ensure that these events do not pose a threat to the environment. That is that the events have a zero carbon footprint or at least it is minimised. This is the reason why the carbon footprint of each hotel has been calculated this year. The hotels, with the best will in the world, have provided us with the necessary details to calculate the carbon footprint of their establishments. During any business event, whether it is a meeting, a conference, an assembly or a convention, every participant leaves a carbon footprint, that is, a certain amount of tons of CO2 equivalents (teCO2).

The calculation of the carbon footprint normally considers the emissions created at the participant’s place of stay (hotel) in the destination city or in the transport used to reach and travel around the city. Thanks to the carbon footprint calculation we are aware of our impact and can take action to mitigate it, by reducing emissions or promoting initiatives to offset its effect. Some of the measures to reduce emissions include the replacement of light bulbs with low consumption bulbs, obtaining energy from renewable energy sources and the use of public transport or, failing this, the use of private electric vehicles.

Different initiatives are carried out to resolve this problem. Some of these form part of measures found in the “Impact and Legacy” section, check them out! Planting trees to offset emissions, working with the local community or cleaning and preparing forest tracks are usually the most effective. The tons of CO2 equivalents include the emissions of all greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere directly or indirectly as a result of the activity.

Three different scopes are considered:

Scope 1:

Greenhouse gas emissions from sources which belong to or are controlled by the company. The most common are the consumption of fossil fuels at fixed sources and accidental leaks of air conditioning equipment.

Scope 2:

Indirect emissions from the consumption or distribution of energy corresponding to the greenhouse gases associated with the consumption of electricity and steam generated by third parties.

Scope 3:

Emissions from the value chain of a company which are not under their control. Examples include business trips, staff travel and the use of products.

Bilbao signs up to the Glasgow declaration

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Bilbao Convention Bureau has signed up to the Glasgow declaration. Following the wave of new generations and confirming its commitment to sustainability and the environment, the Bureau has decided to measure, decarbonise, regenerate and release funding to achieve these goals.

At the same time, the Bureau will continue carrying out the measures established in the Sustainability Action Plan set out until 2027.

Bilbao ranked 42 in the Global Destination Sustainability Index


As proof of the city of Bilbao’s clear commitment to sustainability. since last year (2021), Bilbao has assumed the challenge to sign up to the GDS-Index ranking. The Global Destination Sustainability Index lists the most sustainable destinations for holding events from the MICE sector.

In its first year, Bilbao made it to a decent 42nd place in the world ranking with a final score of 60.4/100. There are four sections: environmental section (72.22/100), social section (82.5/100), suppliers (27.5/100) and management of the destination city (58.62/100).

In order to continue improving the city, this year a number of initiatives are to be promoted and set up. With these, Bilbao hopes to improve its position and climb higher in the ranking for 2022.

In comparison to other cities with similar populations, we are ranked quite close to cities who lead the way in terms of sustainability, such as Aarhus and Reykjavik. The former is the third best in the ranking and the Icelandic capital was ranked fifth. The biggest difference with these two cities lies in the Supplier section but we are clear on how to go about changing the situation.

Entrevista con el Bilbao Convention Bureau

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During the interview with Max Tourism, Kepa Olabarrieta, Director of Bilbao Convention Bureau for 12 years, describes the Bureau’s main objectives for the near future and the most significant events to come.

At the same time, he recaps the Convention Bureau’s strong points, predicting the steps to be taken to continue to establish Bilbao as a destination, and highlighting the satisfaction experienced by visitors to Bilbao.


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