The Costa del Sol Convention Bureau has welcomed a group of travel agents from Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, showing them the hotels, convention centres, cultural venues, and restaurants they can use in their meetings and incentive trips, highlighting the latest developments in Málaga Province.
Such developments include the new T3 terminal at Málaga Airport, corporate social responsibility activities, shopping facilities, and new wineries, among others.
This fam trip was planned with the Spanish Tourist Office in Singapore, whose staff selected the participants. It is the third time we have organised a fam trip for the MICE travel market in Southeast Asia. On this occasion, it was planned to complement the launch of Istanbul-Valencia and Istanbul-Málaga flights by Turkish Airlines. Therefore, visitors were taken to both Málaga and Valencia.
The agents, who worked for tour operators with MICE departments in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, stayed in Málaga for four days. This type of tour operators are always in search of new activities, destinations, and experiences for their meetings, conferences, and incentive travel programmes.
The programme was designed taking into account our visitors’ interests and needs: hotels with meeting rooms, the old town of Marbella, Puerto Banús, a flamenco show, a wine tasting session in Mijas, Málaga City, shopping, etc.
In addition, incoming travel agencies and hotels affiliated to the Costa del Sol Convention Bureau were invited to attend our meals in turns, so that they could showcase their products and services, share ideas, and make contacts.
The fam trip has had good results, especially because of the profiles of the tour operators represented and the interest shown in our travel destination. Most of the visiting agents had never been to the Costa del Sol before or planned trips to the region. The aspects they highlighted were the quality and variety of our hotels, the food, and the wide range of activities available in both coastal and hinterland areas.
Southeast Asia appears as an interesting market, especially after the launch of the Istanbul-Málaga direct flight. In fact, three years ago, the Hotel Villa Padierna played host to the annual conference of the National Insurance Association of Malaysia, drawing 150 representatives of the leading insurance companies in the country, brought by Carlson Wagonlit Travel Malaysia. It was the first event held on Costa del Sol for the Malaysian market.
Our visitors liked the idea of visiting other destinations in Spain than Madrid and Barcelona. Moreover, we could take advantage of the historical ties with Islam to cement relations in this market. (In Malaysia, for instance, there are Buddhists, Catholics, and Muslims.) We want to show them an image of the Costa del Sol as a destination full of tourist attractions where everything is possible, and of Málaga City as the gateway to Andalusia. Southeast Asian travellers are interested in quality hotels and restaurants (they know they can get great fish, seafood, and rice in Andalusia), golf facilities, spas and wellness centres, shops and outlet stores, and nightlife. Local history and customs are less attractive to them. They are curious about white villages, genuine Spanish lifestyle, and football –this is why they always want to visit Madrid and Barcelona.