Hola, says Spain to MICE!
Apart from being a world class leisure destination that attracted more than 75 million tourists in 2016, Spain is also a world congress destination, read on to explore more about what the destination has to offer to MICE travellers...
As per the International Congress and Convention Association, Spain is the fifth country in the world in terms of international meetings organised, 533 in 2016. In addition to excellent air connections, it has a strong circuit of hotels and alternative accommodation (over 16,000) intended for MICE. The entire sector makes more than 350,000 hotel beds available to the market. Of particular interest is the Parador Network. There are 90 unique charming hotels distributed across Spain. The country itself is well connected with a highspeed rail network known as AVE and other train services, frequent buses, excellent road infrastructure and several ports for cruises.
Moreover, Spain has the latest equipment in the MICE segment and a highly professional tourist industry. Spain's diversity is its biggest USP and a major attraction for MICE from India. Nightlife, beaches, gastronomy, history, art and culture, adventure, landscapes, wineries, deserts, mountains, various forms of entertainment, etc, you name it and Spain has it all!
Spain is very well connected to India, with one direct flight that connects Delhi to Madrid via Air India, while several other international airlines offer excellent connections from various cities across India to different points in Spain. There are frequent connections with Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways (codeshare with Jet Airways), Lufthansa, Swiss Air, KLM/Air France, British Airways and Turkish Airlines.
Other emerging airlines are Saudi Arabian Airlines, Aeroflot, Finnair. There are several daily flight options from India to Madrid and Barcelona, the two main cities of entry to Spain and to other cities such as Valencia, Málaga, Santiago de Compostela and Bilbao. From India, the maximum number of flights to Spain are from Mumbai and Delhi.
The other main cities from where there are flights to Spain include: Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Cochin, amongst others. The airline connectivity from India to Spain is expanding rapidly. Qatar Airways will launch flights to Málaga in 2018.
Professional events can be held in Madrid thanks to its cutting-edge conference venues, its specialised, professional services, its efficient transport network and its excellent hotel industry. There are more than 100,000 hotel beds in 1,145 hotels in the city and the surrounding region. Madrid is the fifth European city in terms
of hotel beds (European Cities Marketing) – and with 3.2 million inhabitants, it is the third largest city in the European Union. Some 71 museums, including the Prado Museum, was named as the most highly rated cultural institution in Spain by the Culture Observatory.
There are about 17,271 catering establishments (restaurants, cafés, bars, and discos), four large convention, conference, meetings and trade fair venues and six world heritage sites less than one hour from Madrid (Alcalá de Henares, Aranjuez, Ávila, El Escorial, Segovia and Toledo).
Main Event Venues: IFEMA
IFEMA Congresses and Events Madrid, is a division specialised in managing space for trade fairs, events and congresses. For events, the five types of space available at Feria de Madrid, an exhibition complex which is characterised by excellent functionality, modern design and multi-purpose, well-equipped and versatile installations, are a suitable option. North Convention Centre: Located in the building at the North Entrance with an area of 10,000 square metres, possesses a total of 20 rooms, 18 of which are on the first floor.
It is found through a grand entrance hall filled with natural light, and its size makes it the ideal space for exhibitions of up to 468 square metres net, or for providing catering services during the event. Rooms N101+N102 and N105+N106 are multi-purpose as they have separating panels, allowing the hosting of events from 100 to 480 people. Joined together, N103 and N104 comprise the North Auditorium, which holds 1,100 seats. The remaining 12 rooms (N107 to N118), with capacities from 70 to 200 people, may be paired to better adapt to the needs of the event. On the second floor, the Colón and Neptuno rooms boasts of large open-air terraces. South Convention Centre: Located in the Feria de Madrid Building´s South Entrance, this centre boasts of an auditorium which can host 600 people. The spacious entrance hall leading to the auditorium is the perfect venue for cocktails and coffee breaks. There are another 20 small rooms close to the auditorium.
Hall Rooms: The offer of space for meetings at Feria de Madrid is completed with 45 rooms. These rooms are perfectly adequate as working rooms and for small meetings. They are located in two areas. 35 of them, holding between 12 and 120 people, are situated in La Avenida (the Central Avenue), in the mezzanines of halls 1-10.
SANTIAGO BERNABÉU STADIUM
Real Madrid CF offers the best facilities for any kind of event, whether it is a small 10-person
Madrid is the fifth European city in terms of hotel beds and the third largest city in EU
affair or a large gathering of more than 80,000. The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and sports complex at Valdebebas are unique, large, welllit, versatile and, above all, exclusive venues. The Real Madrid brand guarantees that your event will always be remembered. The venues can hold product presentations, conventions, work meetings, lectures, galas, concerts, matches on the pitch, etc, whatever the client decides!
Barcelona is the southern gateway to the European market, the centre of an emerging economic Euro region, the capital of the Mediterranean Euro region (with a market of 461 million consumers) and bridge to North Africa and Latin America. It is also the only city in Southern Europe which has, within 5 km, one of the main multi-mode harbours in the Mediterranean, a high-speed train station, a large intercontinental airport, a full network of motorways connected to Europe, the second largest trade fair venue in Europe, and one of the largest logistics areas in Southern Europe.
Centrally located and easily accessible with a wide range of hotels, shops, restaurants and bars nearby, against the backdrop of the iconic and beautiful Montjuïc fountains, the Barcelona Conference Centre has positioned itself as a clear favourite among business and organisations that need a central, spacious and versatile venue for their trade exhibitions and scientific and cultural meetings. The most outstanding features of the conference centre are its auditorium seating 1,100 people (it can be reduced to 800 people approx.), exhibition room covering a surface area of 3,500m2, and superb terrace with stunning views of the iconic Magic Fountain, together with its strategic location.
The big event held was the Audi Summit in July 2017 and Mobile World Congress (annually in February-March).
FC BARCELONA / CAMP NOU
FC Barcelona is now offering its facilities in the most unique of settings. The Camp Nou and the rest of the club's facilities offer a wide range of services, different spaces and experiences. One can make the most of new rooms and spaces, like the recently-built Auditorium 1899, or a dream event overlooking the Camp Nou turf. Choose the option that best suits the needs, whether for a business or private event. One can witness different packages and activities by the meetings and events department.
NEW CITIES FOR MICE SEVILLE
Seville is a top global tourist destination, with a vast historic, monumental, and cultural heritage. The city has been a crucible and meeting point for different civilisations that for centuries settled by the Guadalquivir river. Seville's beauty, magic, and duende have made it into one of the most beautiful and surprising cities in the world. Tradition and modernity go hand-in-hand in Seville, whose millennial past enthusiastically meets a promising future through such measures as tourism plans for improvement, the launch of cycling lanes, the underground and the opening of pedestrian areas.
Seville has a good communications network, with the high-speed train, San Pablo International Airport, an extensive motorway network and a modern river harbour, which welcomes cruise ships. Its venues for meetings include the Palacio
Barcelona has within 5 km, one of the main multi-mode harbours in the Mediterranean
de Congresos y Exposiciones de Sevilla Fibes, which currently has the largest capacity at 3,500 seats and is regarded as the largest auditorium in Spain. This venue has a number of modules and multi-use áreas, which together with the three main halls, showcases Seville as one of the largest and most modern venues for meetings and exhibitions in Europe.
The city of Málaga has cutting-edge facilities that make it the ideal location to host international events.The Palacio de Ferias y Congresos has consolidated the quality of its offering. In addition, there are various singular spaces, ranging from one of the main botanical gardens in Europe to historic buildings and flagship museums. Moreover, the city's hotel capacity is vast and has quality facilities. Málaga also stands out for its connections. The city is the hub of a large network of communications and infrastructures, so it is easy to reach from anywhere in Europe, as its airport is directly liked to more than 100 different destinations.
Washed by the Mediterranean Sea, the Costa del Sol extends along more than 150 kilometres of coastline in the province of Málaga. Its name “Coast of the Sun” is not due to mere chance: with over 325 days of sunshine and a benevolent climate, it is paradise with beaches and pristine waters.
A large percentage of the total accommodation available in the region of Andalucía is concentrated on the western Costa del Sol. There are many tourist services of all types, including berths for sporting boats at 13 marinas and yacht clubs, as well as golf courses, all types of sports facilities, casinos and a myriad of leisure and entertainment options.
The accessibility, spectacular contrasts between tradition and the avant-garde, a unique gastronomy, an excellent quality-price ratio, a vibrant agenda, a green attitude and a changing, dynamic scene turn Valencia into an irresistible destination for a business break.
Early this year, the city opened its gates to the sea with the inauguration of the Marina Beach Club on the beach and the relaunch of the Veles e Vents buildings, where such cutting-edge restaurants as La Marítima can be found – venues with a spectacular location and ambience. It seeks sustainability for citizens as well as for events, crystallised in an extensive range of sustainable spaces which the city uses to provide services: Km 0 catering, bike tours, recycled materials, bicycle transport, and venues built of recycled materials or with photovoltaic roofs. The options for those who seek singular experiences in a privileged climate all the year round include, walking or cycling through the Turia Gardens (the former river bed, now turned into a vast eight-kilometre garden that crosses the city), an outing in a catamaran from La Malvarrosa beach, a paella show cooking in La Albufera, or an incentive trip among orange trees in the lush Valencian orchards.
To these attractions is added a range of cuttingedge meeting venues to hold conferences, meetings, and other events. These include the Palacio de Congresos, Centro de Eventos de Feria Valencia and various venues in Ciudad de las
Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones de Sevilla Fibes, is the largest auditorium in Spain
Artes y las Ciencias, such as the Oceanogràfic and the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia.
The city is easy to access. Its excellent road network, its port, and above all its international airport, 10 km from the city centre, offer direct connections to the main cities in Spain and the rest of Europe. Its diversified infrastructures include a hotel offering of more than 5,000 rooms in the metropolitan area. Walking and cycling around the city is easy, although modern, efficient, and sustainable transport systems are also available. The strategic location of its venues and its extensive range of services turn Bilbao into a destination that brings together excellence and professionalism, with a lifestyle and culture that captivate visitors. With an available area of over 150,000 square meters, Bilbao Exhibition Centre is one of the best place to hold and organise any event. The venue, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, is capable of suiting the MICE interests, both in space and in any required feature.
Ibiza is an internationally renowned destination to hold meetings, conferences, incentive trips, product presentations and any other corporate events. Easy to reach: just a two hours' flight away from the main European cities, the island's size makes it possible to reach any destination in less than 30 minutes.
Meeting venues: Ibiza offers a Palacio de Congresos in a privileged location, a few metres
Bilbao Exhibition Centre has an available area of over 150,000 square meters for any event
away from the sea, in a natural environment within a pine forest. It has 14 meeting rooms and an auditorium that seats 437 people. It is currently being enlarged to offer new multifunction rooms in an annexe. The FECOEV Trade Fair centre offers a total of 10,000 m2, ideal for large events and strategically located in the centre of the island. Great hotel offering: The island has a top-level hotel offering, with more than 8,000 rooms in 4and 5-star hotels, 70 per cent of which opened in the last five years.
TENERIFE (CANARY ISLANDS)
The island receives 80,000 participants in the approximately 900 conferences, incentive trips, and product presentations which it hosts every year. Tenerife's nature, its mild climate throughout the year and a wide range of outdoor activities or in singular venues make the island a location increasingly in demand to organise professional trips. Incentive trips have experienced significant growth on the island. Likewise, large events are increasingly frequent and are good evidence that selecting Tenerife means guaranteed success.
The Tenerife Convention Bureau brings together a large number of companies, including many agencies specialised in the design and implementation of tailored programme. A capacity of around 85,000 rooms distributed across the tropical island, Tenerife is a great destination for MICE.
With 186,000 inhabitants, it holds the same position as Los Angeles, Belfast and Strasbourg in the ICCA global ranking. Of great natural beauty, San Sebastián boasts of three beaches, three mountains, one island, and the incomparable La Concha bay, as well as a privileged location, only 20 km from the French border. Gastronomically, the town has the largest number of Michelin stars (17) per square metre in the world and Best Food Destination in the World 2017 according to a major study commissioned by British catering service Caterwings.
San Sebastian is an ideal destination for the MICE market: landmark venues to hold meetings facing the Bay and the sea: historic buildings such as Palacio Miramar, San Telmo Museum, and the Victoria Eugenia Theatre, where history is experienced in every corner; modern, innovative architecture such as the Kursaal Congress Center, two translucid cubes facing the sea, with a maximum seating capacity of 1,806; and the Basque Culinary Center, the first Faculty of Gastronomic Sciences and Centre for Research and Innovation in Food and Gastronomy in Europe, to hold meetings and events with a culinary touch. More than 1,600 rooms are available in fully renovated four-star hotels in the town centre. There were opening of four new hotels in the town centre in 2017 and up to six more hotels are upcoming. The town has good connectivity to the Madrid airport with seven daily flights and through Bilbao Airport to the main European capitals. In the last five years, more than 570 meetings were held in the town
and more than 160,000 participants have enjoyed San Sebastián. The San Sebastián Tourism and Convention Bureau is the perfect partner to hold a meeting, as it works with more than 300 partner companies, including infrastructures, hotels, restaurants, conference services, etc. It offers qualified, impartial information, professional advice and extensive experience in the MICE sector, since 1988.
The Convention Bureaus of every respective destination are the right point of contact to get in touch with DMCs. These bureaus provide a list of local DMCs that agents/tour operators can work with for their MICE requirements. Some of them have been working with the Indian market since many years and are very well acquainted with the Indian travellers' needs. They have built their expertise in catering to the Indian traveller and can provide a repertoire of tourist products and services for small as well as big incentive groups. Following are some examples of DMCs in Spain that have established a strong foothold in the Indian market:
Across Spain: Created in 2004 it has two offices, in Barcelona and Madrid. Specialises in catering the needs of corporate customers (incentives, meetings, congresses, events, etc.) for the past 25 years in Spain. It also holds an official license to distribute football tickets, being sourced directly from football clubs such as FC Barcelona, Atlético de Madrid, Real Madrid etc.
Century Incoming: Has been in business since 2002 and has extensive experience of successfully handling incentive and corporate events, tailormade to suit the client's needs.
Warq Events: Based out of Barcelona, their USP is to understand the requirements of Indian clients better. Their expertise lies in offering customised packages for high-end FIT and MICE groups.
Premium Incoming: Over 20 years' experience with headquarters in Madrid. Can cater to groups of any size, tailor-made services,
San Sebastián Tourism and Convention Bureau works with more than 300 partner companies
solutions for meetings, incentives, conventions and events.
TopTourisme: Based in the heart of Barcelona, TopTourisme specialises in sports events and cultural events. They are the official agency of FC Barcelona as well as the Circuit de Catalunya and PortAventura World. Their main USP is to provide clients with the best experience in events such as F1, La Liga, Rugby, Moto GP, Handball Tennis, concerts and themeparks.
Terramar Group: Professionals at organising MICE events, special offers for VIP clients and a wide spectrum of B2B programmes.
Spain on your terms: This DMC is more focused on small and exclusive business groups. It caters to the high-end travellers and all those wanting a unique experience.
NEW TOURISM PRODUCTS
New tourism products have been introduced to the MICE industry such as: ‘Workshops over a martini' or ‘barbeques on the beach', balloon flights over World Heritage Sites, participation in popular festivals, gastronomic tours and cooking demonstrations/workshops. Special activities include being a shepherd, farmer or wine grower for one day, sailing races, extreme driving lessons and several other adventure sports, new clubs/ lounges to enjoy the vibrant nightlife, street life, entertainment and wine tasting at new wineries.
In the main cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, most restaurants serve vegetarian dishes. There are also plenty of Indian restaurants to choose from. Nowadays, the concept of veganism has become very popular across Europe including Spain, therefore, there will be restaurants serving only vegetarian food as well. Andalucía, Valencia, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands also have plenty of options for vegetarians.
The North of Spain although predominantly known for its seafood dishes is also opening up to the concept of vegetarianism and has started to cater to vegetarians. The hospitality in Spanish restaurants is very warm. Upon request, they will modify the dish by changing the ingredients as per the individuals requirements.