Spain Tourism bullish on Tier II Indian markets
Sudipta Dev – Mumbai
Spain Tourism has been focusing on the Tier II cities in India in recent years. The recent roadshow organised by the tourism board saw 11 key suppliers from Spain being taken to Hyderabad, Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, and Colombo in Sri Lanka, before coming to the main markets in Delhi and Mumbai. Acknowledging that the destination has been receiving an encouraging response from many B towns in India, Ignacio Ducasse Gutierrez, director, Tourism Office of Spain – Mumbai, said, “We have seen a lot of interest from smaller cities, also there has been a lot of interest from groups.” The focus areas are – the honeymoon segment, luxury, shopping, fly & drive, along with activity based tourism which had got a big boost following the success of ‘Zindagi Na Milagi Dobara’. “Gastronomy and wines are other emerging areas,” added Gutierrez.
A significant section of travellers from India are interested in football, Gutierrez mentioned, “Many people fly in just to watch a game. We also have DMCs who organise special programmes for them even for short trips. The packages are upscale. Even for those not watching a game, a visit to the iconic stadiums is an interesting experience.”
The MICE segment is another key area with 35 per cent of Indians applying for visas being group travellers. Pointing out that according to the last report by International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Spain ranked number three worldwide in the number of meetings. “Barcelona and Madrid were among the top five cities. This year we will have 68 million tourists, number three in arrivals (only after US and France). Our presence in India is not as big as it should be, however we see a lot of potential here,” stated Gutierrez.
Informing that Spain Tourism will be sponsoring the first digital women’s award in India, Gutierrez stated, “We are launching a campaign on smart destinations for smart women.” In 2016, he is planning to introduce an online Spanish specialist programme for India. The programme was a big success in the US. Seminars are also being conducted for the travel trade and media.
Though there are no direct flights from India to Spain, Turkish Airlines offers one of the best connectivities to Spain, with direct flights from Istanbul to six Spanish cities. “Emirates and Qatar also have good connectivity. European airlines like British Airways and Lufthansa fly direct to many Spanish cities,” added Gutierrez.