USA tour operators travel to Catalonia to discover new tourist attractions

Tourism office welcomes 40 companies with the goal of attracting American travelers

Catalan business minister Roger Torrent with Tourism office CEO Marta Domènech speaking with American Airlines' representatives in Barcelona on April 22, 2022 (by Turisme de Catalunya)
Catalan business minister Roger Torrent with Tourism office CEO Marta Domènech speaking with American Airlines' representatives in Barcelona on April 22, 2022 (by Turisme de Catalunya) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

April 26, 2022 11:37 AM

The Catalan tourism office (ACT) has organized a small trip for 40 American tour operators to discover new attractions across the territory. The goal is to recover American travelers after the Covid-19 pandemic as it is a key market for the tourism industry. 

The trip started on Friday with several meetings, under the name of Buy Catalunya USA,  between the American companies and up to 70 Catalan businesses from the tourism sector. They exchanged information that will allow operators to commercialize the new tourist attractions in the territory to their clients back home. 

Over 650 interviews had been conducted, making it easier for Catalan enterprises to invest in the American sector without needing to travel there. 

"We want to recover the North American market but in a different way. Of course, we want them to travel to Catalunya again, but we want to offer them the whole country as the destination, not just one specific place," Roger Torrent, Catalan business minister said to the Catalan News Agency (ACN) on Friday. 

The Buy Catalunya USA campaign "is part of an ambitious campaign from the government to increase the Catalan presence in the North American market," he added. The executive will allocate around €860,000 towards the campaign. 

The Friday event was just the beginning of a five-day trip across Catalonia to learn about new attractions in situ. Organizers planned different routes, one focusing on cultural, gastronomical, and nature tourism and the other one on the Mediterranean lifestyle, one of the most interesting factors about the territory for tourists from the USA. The ACT has also prepared a route for female travelers, as it is one of the growing market sectors

"Travel reservations are coming back again. We have our clients trying to come to the region and we hope that we can maintain and increase the number of passengers coming to Catalonia in 2022," Juanita Carvajal, representative of leisure brand Fine Wine & GourmeTravel, said to ACN.

The different routes are planned to show how "Catalonia, one of the only destinations in the world, combines landscapes, gastronomy, cultural heritage, and the touristic infrastructure," the Catalan minister, Torrent, explained. 

After the Covid-19 pandemic, the market is recovering and, in fact, American Airlines is feeling positive ahead of the summer season. Similarly, the Catalan government is convinced that the holidays campaign will be very successful. 

This is the first time the ACT does a Buy Catalunya focused on a specific country, but results will take time. 

"During the meetings on Friday, businesses were already talking about 2024 activities. Results are not immediate but this is the first time we do a campaign focused in one country, despite we had been working on it for a while," Narcís Ferrer, ACT director, said to Catalan News. 

"We will have to see results and be cautious, as it is a complex campaign," he added. 

In 2023, the tourism office will do another Buy Catalonia, but this one will be a generic one, as they switch biannually. However, in 2024, "I cannot confirm either if we will do a campaign focused on a specific country or not," Ferrer said.

An important touristic market

In 2019, Catalonia was the main destination in Spain for tourists traveling from the US. At the time, they represented 46% of the overall Spanish market, with 1,511,000 tourists. The most significant aspect of American visitors is their average daily spending, €320, much higher than the average tourist, who only pays €197.

In Catalonia, Americans made up 7.8% of all travelers, but their spending represented 11.9% of the total. Figures released by the Catalan Tourism office show that visitors from this nationality spent €2.5 billion

Americans mainly come to Catalonia for holidays (89%), and up to 82.5% arrive by plane. The vast majority (76.4%) book hotel rooms, and even a third of these visitors spend between four and seven nights in the territory.