Barcelona, a tourist destination with a future
Tourism is one of Barcelona’s economic strengths. Nowadays, tourism is one of the more solid features of the Catalan capital. This summer, the leisure and travel sector brought very good news to our economy. The Spanish State, Catalonia and the city of Barcelona have enjoyed a period of high tourist demand, with good figures and business. I wish other economic sectors in our country were in a similar situation, considering the demand, the clients, the consumers.
For some months, the sector has seen a growth trend in the entire Spanish State. In Barcelona in particular, tourism recovered to pre-crisis levels. Tourism in the Catalan capital is going through a sweet moment; a trend that, if we know how to direct it well, should enable the generation of business and the creation of jobs.
In fact, tourism is a key element for the future of Barcelona. Our sector has seen a large international response, and may act as an engine for all of Catalonia. It may do so because it is an activity that has citizens from other countries as clients, clients from all over the world, which has begun to recover from the international financial and economic crisis, unlike the Spanish market, which appears will be affected for a long time.
In order to turn tourism into one of our future engines, in order to profit from the good cards our country and its capital have been dealt, we are committed to continue working to high standards and with professionalism. Now it is the moment to be as imaginative as ever before regarding the promotion of our country’s tourist industry, the moment to work in a creative way as Barcelona has always known how to do.
From the good international positioning Barcelona enjoys, we have to choose to work together. The public sector and private actors need to work together in order to make the most optimal promotion of the country’s tourist destinations. In addition, we need to properly focus on the “Barcelona” brand, probably the most consistent within the Spanish State when talking about international tourism, in particular in the long-distance emerging markets such as the Asian nations. We have to be able to trust the best assets in our country, such as the sun and beaches on offer, the landscape and the city of Barcelona.
Now is the time to work with the actors from Barcelona and the whole of Catalonia that have the greatest international projection, such as FC Barcelona, the Racing Circuit de Catalunya, without forgetting about the skiing on offer, Port Aventura and Montserrat. Together we are a true world tourist power.
We need the union of public institutions and the main agents in order to obtain, in the middle term, the best tourist results that have ever been registered for Barcelona and Catalonia. The country needs the strength and energy of tourism. I think our sector is ready to accept this responsibility, this challenge: it will work better than ever to bring better welfare and a brighter future to our society.
In this trip, the sector will continue prioritising innovation, the improvement of goods and service booking using new technologies, as I am aware it is already being carried out with success and determination.
And we need to promote our country’s tourist assets, our most competitive elements, such as culture, gastronomy, shopping, and lifestyle. The Mediterranean way of life that seduces so many of our visitors. Without also forgetting about very tangible strengths such as business tourism and cruise ships, which still have a key role to play.
Another point is to excel in the treatment of tourists, as we want them to help us by recommending us first-hand, and turn visitors to Barcelona into promoters. This means that we will try to offer you, the people from other countries visiting us on holiday or business, a correct, fair and the most professional treatment.
And we will do so while keeping the identity of our own country and people, our way of life, our traditions, our holiday and festivities calendar. Our country has to keep its individuality, to make tourist success compatible with our viability as a country and society.
by Joan Gaspart i Solves
President of the Turisme de Barcelona’s Executive Committee