A representative of the Costa del Sol Tourist Board International Marketing Department has attended the trade meetings in Greece and Turkey organised by the Central Services of Turespaña and the Spanish Tourist Office (OET) in Rome with the aim to showcasing Spanish travel destinations and products, including the Costa del Sol.
The Tourist Board attended the meetings because our Marketing Plan identifies Greece and Turkey as potential markets to the Costa del Sol. We were able to assess the potential of these emerging markets, give information on our travel destination, and widen our network of contacts and cement relations in the Greek and Turkish travel industry and with the media, suggesting adequate products or tours to meet demand in the segments of cultural tourism, luxury travel, meetings and events, shopping, golf, and leisure/entertainment.
In both Athens and Istanbul, the meetings began with a session for the media based on Spain as a travel destination as presented by the Spanish organisations in the event.
In Greece, the presentation drew some 50 participants, who showed an interest in the Spanish travel offer, especially in the culture and food segments, among others.
In Turkey, attendees discussed various tourism issues, including visa procedures, flight availability (Turkish Airlines serves a direct flight from Istanbul to Málaga three times a week from early April on), real estate tourism, and Turespaña’s communication and promotion strategies in the Turkish market. It was a very active, participative discussion. In the evening, the Spanish delegation held interviews with local travel agents, tour operators, and journalists.
Afterwards there was a dinner party which included a presentation of Spain by Arturo Claver and Elena Valdés. In Athens, the Director of the OET in Rome analysed the political, social, and economic situation in Greece and Turkey, drawing attention to the delicate situation Greece is going through and the keys to tourism consumption and competition in the travel industry, or to the wide range of Spanish travel products offered in Turkey.
In both countries, the trade meetings draw a high number of participants, who were interested in conferences and incentive trips, cultural attractions, luxury hotels and shops, hinterland tours, cruises, health and wellness facilities, and food and restaurants.
The interest the Costa del Sol aroused in Greek and Turkish trade members was self-evident in the different activities, especially when we came face to face with travel agents and journalists. We even made a presentation for some 30 agents who wanted to start operating with our travel destination. At the meetings, we screened a promotional video of the Costa del Sol.
Alongside Madrid and Barcelona, the Costa del Sol is among the most sought after destinations. Most traditional tours include all three destinations, taking advantage of air connections or the AVE high-speed train. However, custom trips are on the rise, focusing on a single country or region. This is why the Greeks and Turks were interested in the Costa del Sol as the base to explore Andalusia. As a matter of fact, the concept of Málaga as the gateway to Andalusia was warmly welcomed. Therefore, we should focus on alternative tours including other capitals and tourist attractions in Southern Spain.
As a follow-up to these meetings, we are studying the possibility of organising training seminars or door-to-door campaigns in these markets, as well as providing leading travel wholesalers with adequate information materials for agents to get acquainted with our destination.