Spain eyes Tier-II cities
Spain recorded over 50 per cent growth in Indian arrivals in 2017. The board organised a 3-city roadshow in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Chennai from October 4-6, to interact with travel agents.
In 2017, up until August, Spain recorded as many as 86,000 Indian tourists, registering an approximate growth of about 50 per cent over the same period in 2016, informed Ignacio Ducasse Gutierrez, Director, Tourism Office of Spain – Mumbai, during the Spanish Travel Show. “We have seen a huge increase in the number of Indian tourists travelling to Spain in 2017 and we hope to increase this number further. Since our roadshows are an annual affair, we try to cover different cities every year. Next year, we will reach out to other cities like Nagpur and Jaipur. Though our main markets are Delhi and Mumbai, I feel other markets also contribute to the numbers,” said Gutierrez.
Madrid and Barcelona remain the most popular cities visited by Indians. Spain is trying to promote other cities and region like Malaga, Granada, Cordoba, Valencia, Andalusia, etc. Family travel is the dominant segment of travel to Spain from India with MICE travel catching up gradually. Gutierrez points out, “MICE travel contributes almost 30 per cent of the total number of Indian guests to Spain. We also receive small groups of friends, youngsters looking for party and nightlife. We are exploring other segments of travel like solo women travel and honeymooners. The average length of stay of Indians in Spain is 7-8 nights with an average spend of 2400 per person per trip. We are very happy that Spain is increasingly gaining as a mono-destination and we are encouraging repeat visitors to experience the destination in its full spirit.”
At present, 1000 travel agents and tour operators are enrolled under Spain Experts 360, the specialist programme of Spain. An updated version of the programme was launched in October which would accredit agents as Spain Experts if they qualified 7 out of 9 modules. Spain is also exploring projects for film tourism after the success of ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’. “A major part of Season 6 and 7 of Game of Thrones has been shot in Spain and we feel this has also had a positive impact on the number of Indian arrivals to the destination.”
According to Gutierrez, the only direct flight from India to Spain operated by Air India from Delhi to Madrid has been a healthy route. “However, Emirates contributes the largest share of Indian tourists into Spain accompanied by other airlines like Lufthansa, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines,” he says.
Ignacio Ducasse Gutierrez