The Costa del Sol Tourist Board has been part of the trade meetings held in Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Seattle organised by Empresa Pública para la Gestión del Turismo y del Deporte de Andalucía and the Spanish Tourist Offices in Los Angeles and Toronto.
The main reason why we chose to participate in these meetings was that we wanted to keep local trade members and journalists abreast of the travel products available and the latest tourism and communication developments on the Costa del Sol.
The format was the usual one for this kind of meeting: luncheon for specialist journalists preceded a general presentation of Andalusia and a promotional video and workshop for local trade members following the presentation and video. The events came to a close with a dinner party and a flamenco show.
Andalusia was represented by 12 organisations, including Costa del Sol-based Viajes Euroamérica, Hotel Meliá Costa del Sol, Málaga Tourist Board and Town Hall, and Costa del Sol Tourist Board. The other participants were Granada Tourist Board, Seville Tourist Board, A VIP Trip, smilo destination management, Paradores de Turismo de España, Central Holidays, and Alhambra Incoming.
The event drew a high number of trade members in all three cities, who showed great interest in our travel destination in particular. We also visited Altour, one of the most sophisticated travel agencies in the world, offering highly reputed luxury services and taking care of every detail in a trip. 77% of Altour’s business is corporate travel. We made a presentation for them and showed a promotional video. We also contacted some of the travel agents who were there.
At the trade meetings, we made over 200 professional contacts with specialist media, travel agencies and tour operators: Altour, Cox & Kings, Protravel International, Carlson Wagonlit, American Express, and others.
A study carried out by the Spanish Tourism Bureau (TURESPAÑA) shows that most North American tourists coming to Spain do so on holidays. They are mainly interested in cultural attractions, food, golf, cruises, language learning, and conference venues or services.
It must be borne in mind that Spanish is the second most used language in the United States, and it is beginning to be taught in schools in cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Miami.
The same study reveals that American visitors to Spain are 25-64 years old on average and they do not tend to buy holiday packages, planning their trips on their own.
The meetings have been fruitful, especially with regard to the information we were able to give on new developments in our destination, such as the new Madrid-Los Angeles flight served by Iberia, many of the attendees knew nothing about. Their interest in Europe and Spain in particular is high, and flight availability is not a big concern, for North American travellers are used to flying around the world using multiple connections. We also learnt that stays before and after cruise voyages are on the rise, mainly due to the increase in the number of cruise passengers in Málaga over the past few years thanks to the arrival of leading cruise operators in the city.