Gastronomy and wine add value to Catalonia’s tourist offering at ‘ITB Berlin’
Local gastronomy and wine form the focus of Catalonia’s tourism strategy for this year. Coinciding with its selection as the European Region of Gastronomy 2016, the Catalan Tourism Agency (ACT) is promoting a wide range of routes, mainly designed to do by bike, which combine sport, nature and the main wine denomination of origin areas. ITB Berlin is the biggest tourism fair in Europe and one of the most important in this sector worldwide. “We have to be here”, stated ACT’s President, Xavier Espasa. Regarding the German market, which is the third country of origin in terms of number of tourists, this is “getting more sophisticated” and appreciates Catalonia as a diverse destination, more than just the usual attractions, which reinforces the idea that it goes further than sun, beaches and Barcelona.
Berlin (CNA).- Catalan participation at ITB Berlin, the biggest fair in Europe for the travel industry and one of the most important worldwide, focuses this year on local gastronomy and wine. Coinciding with its selection as the European Region of Gastronomy 2016, the Catalan Tourism Agency (ACT) is promoting a wide range of routes, mainly designed to do by bike, which combine sport, nature and the main wine denomination of origin areas.The German market, which is the third country of origin in terms of number of tourists, appreciates the added value that such routes can offer. Indeed, according to ACT, German tourists who travel to Catalonia during the summer are starting to decrease and are getting more sophisticated as they regard Catalonia as a diverse destination, more than just the usual attractions, which reinforces the idea that it goes further than sun, beaches and Barcelona.
Although most tourists already know the Catalan gastronomy, thanks to its worldwide renowned chefs, ACT’s strategy focuses on three pillars: the product, the territory and the cuisine. “We need to emphasise the value of our gastronomy”, stated Espasa. “We want to reinforce our products, which are high-quality and from local ecological producers”, said ACT’s director for Central Europe, Montserrat Sierra.
Regarding the cuisine, “which combines tradition and modernity”, internationally renowned chefs, such as Ferran Adriá, the Roca brothers and Carme Ruscalleda, serve as “real ambassadors”. Indeed, Carme Ruscalleda has been chosen as the image of ACT’s 2016 campaign.
Furthermore, in order to promote the knowledge of the territory and spread the local production, ACT has designed a wide range of itineraries which aim to put together the territory with what is produced there. The different biking routes within the main wine denomination of origin areas are one of the most outstanding examples of this. These circuits represent “a more sophisticated kind of tourism” which put together “gastronomy, nature, leisure and sport” and “add value” to Catalonia’s usual attractions.
Michelin star food tasting
Catalonia’s stand in ITB Berlin offered a tasting of local products designed by Monty Agulló, chef of the Michelin-awarded restaurant ‘5 by Paco Pérez’, in Berlin. “We have chosen our most valuable chicken, ‘Pota Blava’ and artichokes, which are a seasonal product”, explained Agulló. According to him, Catalan gastronomy is more appreciated every day and goes much further than the typical “tapas and paella”. “There is a product for every month of the year”, he explained.
Germany, a loyal market which is getting more sophisticated
Catalonia receives 1.3 million German tourists every year, which make them the third largest market in terms of number of tourists. On average, their expenditure is around 1,000 euros during their stay.
“The number of German tourists who visit Catalonia during high season has decreased in recent years”, explained Sierra who assured that the “summer peak” no longer exists. German tourists “advance their visit to March and continue visiting Catalonia until mid-October”, added Sierra.
Regarding their profile, it goes from the “loyal tourist” who discovered Catalonia in the sixties and is mainly attracted by its “coast and warm weather” to a more recent type, who sees Catalonia as a “city-break destination”, explained Sierra. “This kind of tourist makes the best of their weekend and opts to discover other cities, besides Barcelona”, added Sierra. “German tourists, as well as other markets, are getting more sophisticated” explained Espasa “they don’t look only for sun and beaches but for gastronomy, nature and itineraries”. Requirements which Catalonia “can meets perfectly”.
German tourists have always had a close relationship with camping. Numerous Catalan campsites are reviewed and awarded year after year in the ADAC travel guide, the most important drivers’ association in Germany, which has more than 19 million associates.
The ITB Berlin fair, a point of reference in Europe
ITB Berlin is the biggest fair in Europe for the travel industry and one of the most important worldwide. Its last edition attracted more than 100,000 exhibitors and nearly 175,000 visitors, 115,000 of them professionals from the tourism sector. Catalonia’s 209 m2 stand promoted its different tourist brands and more than 20 companies, with Vueling Airlines, F1 Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya and Torres wine cellar all represented at the fair.