Elisa Robles-Fraga, Director, Tourism Office of Spain (Turespaña) in India share her perspective on the recovery of tourism in Spain as well as expectation from the India market
Tourism industry in Spain is recovering fast post pandemic since the opening of borders, relaxation in travel protocols and proactive approach adopted by the government. Hence, the arrivals from India are very much on their path of recovery as the demand for Spain has seen a sharp rise with a multifold increase seen in arrivals in 2022 in comparison to 2021.
How is tourism shaping up in Spain?
Spain is indeed in the phase of fast recovery in terms of international tourism. With the relentless efforts of health and tourism ministries, the life is almost back to normal in Spain, of course with some necessary health protocols in place to be on safer side. We are welcoming tourists to our wonderful destination to enjoy the variety of tourism products that we offer like art & culture, gastronomy, luxury, self-drive itineraries, among others.
How do you see India-Spain tourism relations going forward post pandemic?
India is a very important market to us. The arrivals from India were indeed on the rise till 2019. Due to the pandemic, of course we had to follow a wait and watch strategy, but the arrivals are very much on their path of recovery. Especially after the commercial flight operations starting by end of March 2022, the demand for Spain has seen a sharp rise with a multifold increase seen in arrivals in 2022 in comparison to 2021.
How is the response from India market?
Spain has always been one of the preferred European destinations for the Indian market with many inquiries coming in during various phases of the pandemic. With more and more restrictions being relaxed with each passing month, the response from Indian travelers – not just FITs but also MICE and larger groups has been tremendous.
What is your expectation in terms of arrivals from India?
Indian arrivals in 2022 have been multifold when compared to 2021. We are hoping that the trend continues in 2023 and hopefully we will get closer or even surpass our 2019 arrivals.
What challenges do you face in tapping the potential of India outbound?
India is a large country with a rich and wide variety of culture and traditions. This naturally reflects in the variety we observe in the needs and preferences of the Indian outbound traveler. Unlike in many other outbound markets, one single success formula cannot be applied to the entire Indian market. Factors like dietary restrictions, religious and social beliefs, cost sensitivity, among others, matter when it comes to tourism destination selection. So, it’s important to offer a customized mix of tourism products and experiences that would appeal to each segment of this market.
What market segments are you looking forward to tap? Are you also looking to tap Weddings, MICE and business travel segments? If yes, what are your specific strategies to follow?
During the various phases of pandemic recovery, we saw constant demand from the FIT and small group segments. But we are also observing great interest from other segments like larger groups and MICE travels, among others. Then again, the wedding planner segment is also a key segment for us as Spain has been steadily gaining popularity as a destination wedding and luxury destination in India. Considering this, we do have some interesting activities in pipeline for 2023 like familiarization trips and roadshows, among others.
What are your promotional and marketing strategies going forward?
During the last couple of years, everyone has realized the role digital platforms like webinars, online contests and engagement play in promoting a destination. But of course, the traditional tools of promotion like face-to-face meetings, promotional events targeted towards final consumer, participation in trade fairs are crucial too. So, we are planning to implement an optimum mix of the digital and physical promotional tools to achieve a maximum possible reach which may not have been possible in pre-pandemic time.