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...

Micetalk - - Contents - Kan­chan Nath

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.


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 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.


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.


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 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.

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