The Manager of the Swiss Federation of Travel Agents (SRV or FSAV, its acronyms in German or French, respectively), Walter Kunz, described the conference held last weekend in Málaga as “the best in history,” considering both the conference programme and the parallel activities, organised by the Málaga-Costa del Sol Tourist Board. Our President, Elías Bendodo, thanked Empresa Pública para la Gestión del Turismo y del Deporte de Andalucía, Turespaña, and the private sector for their collaboration in the organisation of this event, encouraging them to keep working in the same direction.
Conference attendees considered the event to have been highly successful and were fascinated by Málaga City. “It was a big surprise, it opened our eyes to its potential,” they said. 70% had never been to Málaga before.
SRV gave wide coverage to the conference, for it shared the information with the 200 attendees and all Federation members. SRV gathers 850 active members (travel agencies, tour operators, incoming travel agencies) and 120 passive members (airlines, tourist offices, car hires, and tourism-related businesses). Its active members account for 80% of the total business volume in the Swiss travel industry.
Our President was satisfied with the conference’s results too. He said the Swiss market had expanded significantly over the past few years. Moreover, he added, the Swiss are experienced travellers and have an interesting profile. Their travel budget is high and, with their strong economy, they can afford to travel abroad more than once a year. “This is in keeping with our strategy to promote winter trips and thus fight peak travel.” Also, Swiss tourists are attracted to food, wine, golf, the hinterland, and other segments the Costa del Sol has long experience in.
Then, Mr Bendodo thanked SRV for having chosen Málaga to host their 84th Annual Conference: “It’s been a golden opportunity for us to showcase our travel destination, and it will help Swiss travel agents sell it more effectively.”
Our President agreed with Mr Kunz that, after the conference, the number of Swiss visitors to Málaga is expected to surge: “Experience teaches us that, whenever a travel agents’ conference is held on the Costa del Sol, the number of visitors from the corresponding outbound market rises significantly. Let’s hope this is true with this conference too. I believe it will.”
As part of the post-conference activities, SRV announced they will include links to the sections of our Destination Management System in the newsletter the send to members. Also, we discussed plans with the Spanish Tourist Office in Zurich: door-to-door campaigns for tour operators, travel agents, and specialist wholesalers, winter-oriented press trips focusing on food and wine travel, and others. In addition, the conference’s results will be published in prestigious specialist magazines like “Travel Inside,” alongside feature articles on Málaga.
The conference’s four-day programme included trips to Mijas, Ronda, Antequera, Nerja, and Frigiliana and various leisure activities: a tour of Málaga’s historic district, a tapas route, tasting sessions at La Cónsula and Hacienda La Esperanza, and various shows. Our Swiss visitors remarked on the highly-qualified staff of the Málaga travel industry and the quality service they were offered in the province.
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