President of Relais Chateaux says that Alguaire airport will be too small to handle winter tourism

Jaume Tàpies argues a new terminal must be built to handle those skiers who have used Toulouse airport up until now

Mario Rubio

June 28, 2010 03:21 AM

Paris (CNA) .- Next winter the Pyrenees will welcome thousands of new skiers who will put to the test the capacity of Alguaire airport in Lleida, according to the international president of Relais Chateaux, Jaume Tàpies. In an interview with CNA, Tàpies, owner of the hotel El Castell de Ciutat in the region of La Seu d'Urgell, believes that a new terminal must be built to bring to Alguaire a large part of the skiers that have so far landed in Toulouse, France. Despite the crisis, Tàpies sees a great deal of touristic potential in Lleida and he believes that in Catalonia things “are being done well” in order to consolidate the country as an internationally competitive player.

Tàpies, grandson of the famous Catalan painter Antoni Tàpies, is one of the most reputable voices in the international hotel sector. For five years he has been the President of the Relais Chateaux organisation based in Paris. In Catalonia, there are five Relais Chateaux spots: the Hotel Mas de Torrent (Torrent), El Castell de la Ciutat (La Seu d'Urgell) and Torre Remei (in Cerdanya) as well as restaurants owned by Carme Ruscallleda and Santi Santamaria.

Alguaire airport needs a new terminal

Tàpies predicts that as the number of passengers coming to Lleida over the next few years will increase, the airport “has already become too small” and he would pin his hopes on the building of a new terminal to respond to the increase in tourism and business travellers thanks to the recent opening of the Llotja, an entrepreneurial meeting point with a capacity for a thousand people. “However, all these people must get the best service”, warned Tàpies, who believes there are still not enough hotels in some areas of the region.