International tourist industry meets in Catalonia

The 21st edition of Catalonia’s International Tourism Fair takes place between April 20th and 22nd in Barcelona. In this annual trade fair, the sector displays its best offers and trends. This year sport tourism, wine tourism and the camping sector are some of the main attractions. More than 200,000 people are expected to visit the event. Tourism represents 12% of Catalonia’s GDP, employing more than 400,000 people. The Catalan tourist industry welcomed 23.5 million visitors in 2011 and earned €11.3 billion; estimates for 2012 expect figures to increase by 7%. National Geographic included the Costa Brava as one of its top 20 destinations worldwide.


April 21, 2012 01:02 AM

Barcelona (ACN).- Catalonia’s International Tourism Fair has kicked off in Barcelona on Friday. This annual trade fair, one of the most important of its kind in Europe, will run until Sunday April 22nd, being held at the Montjuic venue of Fira de Barcelona (Barcelona’s Trade Fair). The 21st edition of this fair expects to attract more than 200,000 visitors, most of them Catalans who plan their summer holidays, displaying a variety of tourist destinations and activities in Catalonia, Spain, and in 50 other countries.1,100 exhibitors will display their best offers, representing a 1% increase from 2011 figures. This year’s fair mainly focuses on specialised trips, wine tourism, sports tourism, camping, and cruise ships. In fact, Barcelona is the world’s 4th main cruise port, after those in Florida, with 881 docked ships. Last year it received 2.6 million cruise passengers, a 13.6% increase from 2010. This figure shows the strength of the Catalan tourism sector, which represents 12% of Catalonia’s GDP and employs 400,000 people. Tourism industries earned €11.3 billion last year, 7.8% more than in 2010. In 2011, Catalonia hosted 23.5 million tourists, a 5.7% increase compared to 2010. 13.7 million people came from abroad, while 4.2 million came from the rest of Spain and 5.6 million were Catalans going on holiday in their own country. However, despite visiting Catalonia, Catalans enjoy travelling and represent one third of all Spanish tourists going abroad. The Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, in charge of tourism, Francesc Xavier Mena, opened the fair on Friday. Mena said that forecasts indicate that over 2012 tourism revenues will increase in Catalonia by 7%.

Tourism is a very strong sector in Catalonia, but also worldwide. It represents 5% of the world’s GDP and employs 1 out of every 12 people around the planet, generating a global income of €700 billion. Spain is a leading tourism centre, and Catalonia in particular. National Geographic included Catalonia’s Costa Brava among its top 20 destinations worldwide. Furthermore, TripAdvisor listed Catalonia as one of the 25 world best beach destinations, combining Costa Brava (Catalonia’s northern shore) and Costa Daurada (the southern shore).

In Catalonia’s International Tourism Fair, the country has been showing off its main attractions. One of the new sectors that is developing very fast is sports tourism, where Lleida Province and the Catalan Pyrenees play an essential role. Trekking, cycling, golf, track and field, sailing or other water sports are some of the many activities to enjoy in Catalonia. Furthermore, the fair also show activities abroad, such as a rally through the Sahara Desert.

Another of this year’s main areas is gastro tourism and wine tourism. Only in the Girona Province there are 14 restaurants with a total of 18 Michelin stars, including the ‘Celler de Can Roca’, recognised last year’s as the second best restaurant in the world. Furthermore, Catalonia has 11 wine regions. Probably the most famous is DO Penedès, which received in 400,000 tourists in 2010. Rural hotels, wine cellars, specialised museums, and restaurants offer combined routes throughout Catalonia and its different areas to go winetasting, with walks across the vineyards, sightseeing, relaxation, and well-being. Some famous wine cellars participating in are Freixenet and Bodegues Torres. Experts state that this sector has great potential in Catalonia and in Spain, where there was a total of 1.4 million wine tourists in 2010, while in California alone there were 20.7 million.

Camping is another of the main attractions of the fair. Catalonia concentrates 30% of Spain’s camp sites, with 354 facilities. They offer 92,000 plots to host 290,000 people. Furthermore they offer 7,700 spaces in bungalows and ‘mobile-homes’. Another of this year’s main attractions is smart tourism, combining environmentally sustainable tourism with city visits.