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Govt of Catalonia keen for direct India-Barcelona flights

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Akshay KumarMumbai

Catalonia, an autonomous destination in Spain, is aggressively looking at attracting Indian visitors. The capital city of Barcelona has always been popular with Indian tourists. Around 50 per cent of the Indian tourists visiting Spain also visit Catalonia. The Government of Catalonia had organised, Barcelona and Catalonia Fashion Show and destination promotion in Mumbai recently.

A direct flight between India and Barcelona is expected to further give a fillip to Indian tourist arrivals. Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, Arthur Mas, president, Catalonia said, “The first important plan is to convince airlines in India to start a direct flight between India and Barcelona. If we have a direct flight then a lot of Indians would go to Catalonia and Barcelona and vice-verse.”

Catalonia, a destination which has an area equal to one per cent of the Indian land, has a lot to offer for the Indian tourists. Barcelona FC has many diehard fans in India and sports tourism is one of the key segments that can be promoted here. Mas commented, “For the Indians we offer all our segments, the Indians love Barca, our main football team. We also have our culture, architecture, gastronomy, cuisine, beaches and mountains to offer. We are trying to convince people from India to visit our country.”

Promoting the destination through Bollywood is an important tourism strategy. The success of the film  Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and what it did to draw Indian visitors to Spain is proof of the fact. Mas acknowledged, “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, was a very successful movie as well as it created awareness and brought many Indian tourists.”

Top Spanish designers and Spain’s top model Rachel Byros opened the fashion show while Indian supermodels Tamara Moss, Kanishtha Dandekar, Erika Pakard and Iris Maity were present along with showstopper Aditi Rao Hydari.