The Málaga-Costa del Sol Tourist Board has carried out door-to-door campaigns in Norway and Finland. In Norway, we visited nine incentive travel agencies, meeting planners, and tour operators specialising in Special Interest Groups in Oslo and the surrounding area. We made full presentations of our travel destination for them, focusing on the latest developments.
This is the first time we have carried out a door-to-door campaign in Norway. The goal was to make contacts with the leading actors in our sector, filling them in on the latest news and developments.
In Norway they are familiar with the Costa del Sol, but only as a sun and sand or residential destination (not in the MICE segment). The response to our presentations was very good, and we were able to offer incentives for the Norwegian trade members to visit us. They even asked for a fam trip to be organised by the Spanish Tourist Office and the Convention Bureau next year.
Norway is a country with a thriving economy and one of the highest per capita income. However, exports have been badly affected by the downturn of the global economy, and this may have an impact on other sectors. The first signs of recovery are expected to appear by 2012.
Some of the Norwegian clients have a huge potential for Málaga and the Costa del Sol, as they are already holding events in Barcelona, Valencia, or Alicante. The best known DMC in the Norwegian market is Across Spain, with offices in Barcelona and Madrid.
In Finland, the campaign unfolded in Helsinki, where we visited travel agencies and incentive travel companies, and had a dinner with specialist journalists. The activities were organised by the local Spanish Tourist Office, which helped us identify our potential clients and select the journalists for our dinner. We were accompanied by one of our affiliates, the Beatriz Palace Hotel & Spa (Fuengirola). We have invited two other affiliates, but they cancelled on the last minute.
We focused on the marketing of MICE products, the training of our Finnish buyers, the visibility of our travel destination, image improvement with the press, and better knowledge of the Finnish market in the MICE segment.
In Finland they are well-acquainted with the Costa del Sol as a holiday and golf travel destination. In fact, in Fuengirola there is a huge Finnish community. In this campaign, we were able to show our destination as a place with all the facilities and services to hold events, conferences, or incentive trips; that is, a destination that goes beyond sun and sea –our traditional image in the Finnish market.
The companies visited had an interesting profile. Although they tended to associate the Costa del Sol with holidays (the Costa del Sol is the second most popular holiday destination among Finnish travellers, after the Canary Islands), some of them had planned incentive trips and group tours to Málaga. The journalists had been well selected too; most of them had written about the Costa del Sol, although they had not focused on MICE issues.
Finland is a small market with a strong economy, where the global crisis has not had as serious an impact as in other European countries. It has an interesting potential to be tapped by the Costa del Sol, a destination with nice weather, well-developed infrastructure, quality services, and efficient transport and communications. Four airlines are now offering direct Helsinki-Málaga flights: Finnair, Air Finland, Norwegian, and Ryanair.
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