February 1, 2009

Autonomous Regions press home advantage at FITUR

New products, hand in hand with the old favourites in each region, are the order of the day at the XXIX FITUR exhibition that openend in Madrid yesterday.

Andalucia is promoting its gastronomic treasures, its fiestas and its beautiful beaches under the forthright banner 'Andalucia loves you' ... .

The Comunidad Valenciana is plugging tourism to its inland areas as well as promoting itself as the ideal conference venue, in an attempt to reverse the recent downward trend in visitor numbers. 'Sun and sand' however, are still the main protagonists on its 7000 square metre stand.

With a striking red and black stand, Madrid hopes to catch the visitors' eyes and tempt them with its varied assortment of gastronomy, leisure, culture and sport.

The Canary Islands are setting their sights further afield, hoping to attract Scandinavian visitors to their unique islands by offering excellent health tourism.

Cantabria has put its eggs into the 'underground' basket, advertising the extensive cave paintings the region's subterranean world has to offer as 'the other Sistine'.

Visitors to the Basque Country stand are immediately transported to its green pastures. All three provinces are represented under the umbrella banner of the Basque Government with 'Euskadi, made in...' as their slogan.

Castilla y León, that has seen a 4% drop in tourism, remains faithful to its slogan ' Castilla y León is life' and is strongly promoting rural and inland tourism.

Galicia, ever-loyal to its traditional products like gastronomy and health tourism, has added a 'bar' area to this year's stand, where visitors can taste the region's different brands of mineral water.

Source: Think Spain

Kenya and Spain in tourism deal

Kenya and Spain will jointly launch a web and conduct an e-learning programme for Spanish Tour Operators as the two countries seek to boost bilateral tourism relations with each other.

This follows an agreement on immediate areas of action following the signing of an MoU last November in Nairobi.

The Spain agreement was signed by Tourism minister, Najib Balala, and his Spanish counterpart Mr Juan Mesquida in Madrid at the Spanish tourism trade fair- the Fitur.

“The Spanish tourism ministry has a team of 40 experts to develop and manage its portal which enables on-line booking and e-transactions”, said Mr Mesquida.

Expressed interest

The agreement also includes the cross-marketing of tourism with other Kenyan products such as tea and coffee.

Kenya is taking part in the Fitur for the first time in line with the undertakings of the MoU, which was signed in November 2008 in Nairobi.

The Spanish minister had visited Kenya and was the chief guest during the annual Lamu Cultural Festival.

In order to promote the e-learning programme, the Spanish Minister will initiate action to establish the Spanish International School in Kenya

In 2007, which was the best year for Kenya, 15,000 Spanish tourists visited Kenya but this number went down to about 6,000 according to last year estimates.

Mr Balala also held discussions with Q Lineas Aereas airline, which has expressed interest in introducing direct flights to Kenya.

Source: Daily Nation