Countdown to 6th International Starlight Meeting in Cuenca

As novelties in this event, where more than 200 attendees are expected, will be broadcast for the first time in streaming and there will be a public talk by Antonia Varela.

2023 / 10 / 16

The countdown is on for the most important astrotourism event of the year, the 6th International Starlight Meeting, to be held in Cuenca from 17 to 20 October.

More than two hundred participants are expected, including half a hundred online, to attend this unique event, which will be streamed for the first time and will bring together speakers from Spain, Chile, Peru, Italy, Portugal, Canada, Mexico, Colombia and Cyprus.

Representatives of Starlight certified sites, people trained by the Starlight Foundation as Monitors and Guides, and professionals associated with the Starlight movement will share their experiences of astrotourism, the opportunities and benefits it offers in terms of sustainable tourism, and the processes involved in implementing Starlight tourism in a site.

Presentations will be given on topics such as astronomical dissemination, specialised communication in astrotourism and intelligent lighting. In addition, the privileges and advantages of Starlight Territories and the management of their certification will be publicised through the experiences of national and international Starlight Territories.

This meeting once again has the prestigious support and participation of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), where the Starlight Foundation leads the Scientific Tourism Working Group of Affiliate Members.

Among the most prominent speakers at the VI Starlight Meeting will be Rafael Rebolo, Director of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias; Rafael Bachiller, Director of the National Astronomical Observatory and the Royal Observatory of Madrid; and Marina Barcenilla, astrobiologist, researcher and science communicator. There are also specialised journalists and, above all, representatives of the UNWTO and international Starlight territories, some veterans and others in the process of consolidation: Pueblo de Pica (Chile), Mullakas Misminay (Peru), Madonie Regional Park (Italy) or the Alqueva Dark Sky Reserve (Portugal), among others.

International Starlight Meeting in Cuenca

The Starlight Meetings were created 6 years ago with the aim of becoming a living meeting where, in addition to specific presentations by people directly responsible for areas, entities and activities related to Starlight, open sessions and round tables are held where all those interested can contribute their ideas and exchange experiences, as well as raise the challenges and opportunities that should be opened up for the future in the field of astrotourism, led by the Starlight Foundation.

Starlight Tourism or Astrotourism is defined by the Starlight Foundation as an emerging, innovative and high quality form of sustainable and responsible tourism that is a driver of local economies. It combines the observation of the sky with activities related to this natural resource; stars, galaxies and the dissemination of astronomy. It is also a resource for promoting areas with fewer opportunities, which see in star tourism an excellent opportunity to increase the quality of visitors.

To promote this scientific tourism, it is necessary to protect the night sky, thus allowing energy savings and mitigating the effects of climate change, while combining the starry sky with the natural, cultural, scientific, biodiversity and environmental values of the places that take care of the night sky.

This annual international event, now in its sixth year, aims to be a global meeting of the Starlight Network, bringing together the main players in the field of star tourism. Public administrations, scientific institutions and universities, local communities and travel agencies are invited to share experiences and reflect on future challenges for the next decade.

The event will include the IV Meeting of Starlight Monitors and Astronomical Guides, a gathering of people trained by the Starlight Foundation and open to university students, providing an excellent opportunity to share experiences and establish guidelines for the future.

The meeting will include a night tour of the city of Cuenca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a visit to the Science Museum, a symbolic blackout and star party in Plaza Mangana with the support of AstroCuenca and AstroGuada, a musical event and a closing dinner with the presentation of the Starlight Awards and the International Starlight Awards, as well as exhibitors from companies related to the astronomy sector.

In the words of Antonia Varela, Director of the Starlight Foundation: "This meeting is not just a date in the calendar; it is a living testimony of the development and growth of our Starlight family. The sharing and exhibition of astrotourism experiences that takes place here enriches our work, broadens our horizons and unites us in a common cause: to bring the wonders of the cosmos to every corner of the world, in a sustainable and respectful way, while continuing to defend this resource that belongs to all humanity, our sky".

It is precisely to share this experience with the general public that Varela is offering the public conference "The sky in danger, terrestrial and space threats" on the 19th of October at 5pm at the Palaeontological Museum of Castilla-La Mancha.

This conference will also present the progress of the pact signed in the Parliament of the Canary Islands in June 2021 by the Federation of Business and Professional Women BPW Spain and the Starlight Foundation to defend before the UN that the quality of the sky and access to Starlight is the ODS18.

Venues of previous Starlight meetings:

Parador de Gredos - Ávila (2018).
Lazareto de Maó Island - Menorca (2019)
Monasterio del Olivar, Estercuel - Teruel (2020)
University of Évora - Portugal (2021)
Fuencaliente de La Palma, La Palma - Canary Islands (2022)

Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias
Coorporación 5