Barcelona (ACN).- The 'World Travel Market' (WTM), now in its 35th edition, is taking place between 3-6 November in London. This year, Catalonia will boast a 300m2 exhibition space through which participating companies will promote different of its tourist destinations, promoting its uniqueness as a destination with everything to offer, from city breaks in Barcelona to rural beauty in the Catalan countryside such as the Penedès wine region, the Pyrenees mountains and the Costa Brava beaches. The WTM is a hugely important event in the tourism and travel industry, bringing together 5,000 organizations from 200 countries, and an estimated 50,000 professionals. Catalonia’s participation represents its growing importance as a holiday destination for UK tourists, which is now the second largest market in the country after the French, having increased by 4% to now represent revenue of around €1 billion in the first 10 months of 2014. Tourists from the UK now represent 6% of total spending in Catalonia, and give it a score of 8.7 out of 10. The WTM will be a crucial opportunity for promoting the activities, gastronomy and culture on offer and thus strengthening the relationship between Catalonia and the UK. In addition, this trade fair is one of the world's largest of its type of events, bringing together professionals in the travel industry from all around the globe for a four day opportunity to network and negotiate and closing deals £2.2 billion last year.
"Catalonia is a destination of destinations"
According to the Catalan Government's Director General for of Tourism, Marian Muro, "Catalonia is a destination of destinations". She emphasised the diversity of the territory, which represents destinations as varied in geography and culture as the Ebro Delta (called Terres de l’Ebre in Catalan), an area of astounding natural beauty of wetlands and mountains in southern Catalonia, to the vibrant city culture of Barcelona. Participating brands will also be promoting the rugged coastal resorts of the Costa Brava, and the Penedès region, an area famous for its wine and gastronomy. According to Muro, this year’s 2014 stands will be divided into the different areas, to present them all as being "special and singular". Muro believes what is important is to now look for niches, and adjust offers to requirements.
This view was reiterated by the Director of the Catalan Agency for Tourism, Xavier Espasa, who explained the division was to "to respond to tourism marketing plan of Catalonia, which represents virtually the entire territory". There will be a total of 25 different Catalan regional tourism brands offering interviews throughout the duration of the WTM, will be all important in bringing together tour operators, airlines and other customers "before, during and after" the WTM. This would include Costa Brava, and the Pyrenees in the north, with Barcelona Coast and Barcelona in the centre, with Leida and the Aran Valley in western Catalonia, and the Terres de l’Ebre and Daurada coast in the south.
Barcelona: a city and a province with "wide power" in tourism
The Province of Barcelona has enormous potential by way of attracting tourism, given that it includes not only the cosmopolitan city attractions of the capital, but a variety of areas boasting beautiful landscapes, with quality wines and foods on offer. The President of the Barcelona Provincial Council, Salvador Esteve, remarked that the area’s "wide power" in tourism was as yet unknown to the British, who while less in number than the French, he believes are looking for a different type of tourism, perhaps "the highest quality, and this is what we can offer".
UK is second largest market, both "strategic" and "very loyal"
Tourism from the UK to Catalonia has grown by 4% this year, making them the second largest market in the country, accounting for 6% of tourist spending in Catalonia, revenue of approximately €1 billion so far in 2014. According to Muro, they are a "strategic" market because they are "very loyal". Last year British visitors rated tourism in Catalonia as 8.7 out of 10.