In our weekly ‘Back to Business’ series of interviews with the travel industry, Shauna McCrudden speaks to Rubén López-Pulido, Managing Director of the Spanish Tourism Office, about how Spain’s tourism sector is recovering
Almost the entire Spanish territory has now passed all of the transition phases leading into the ‘new normal’, which came into effect on Sunday, June 21st. This means it is now possible to travel to Spain and the Canaries without having to carry out any form of quarantine.
“This pandemic has posed a major stress test to the tourism industry and confidence is key for the recovery,” says Rubén López-Pulido, Managing Director of the Spanish Tourism Office located in Dublin. “For Spain to recover this confidence, the whole country is adopting all necessary measures to guarantee the well-being of tourists, so they can enjoy the great variety of activities and experiences that await them, in a completely safe way.”
Rubén says these measures include detailed health guides, a seal for hospitality and restaurants, and incorporating specific health and hygiene measures.
“This involves modifying destinations’ infrastructures and protocols to guarantee the health and maximise the well-being of our tourists so they feel right at home.”
And as these health measures allow people to visit the country safely, where will Rubén be travelling to first?
“Though home is where the heart is, and Ireland and its people feel like home for us, my wife and kids are looking forward to going back to Aranjuez (Madrid), our hometown. We are all looking forward to spending time with grandparents especially and meeting the rest of our family and friends again.”
The Spanish Tourism Office, which consists of six employees, supports tourism professionals in Ireland in their promotional and marketing activities abroad. According to Rubén, the most popular Spanish holidays for Irish people are the coastal destinations such as sun and beach destinations in the Canary Islands, Costa del Sol, and Costa Daurada.
Rubén says the Office is seeing this crisis as an opportunity rather than a drawback, as it allows Spain to become more sustainable without losing any business.
“Spain is fully engaged with the 2030 Agenda by the UN, which sets out goals for sustainable development. This is a green reset. We are speeding up the transformation of the sector towards a more sustainable model. Particularly when it comes to renewable energies, the efficient use of resources, reusing water and recycling sustainable transport waste, and the digitalisation, innovation, and modernisation of services.”
Through all of this change and opportunity, what advice does he give for Irish tourists hoping to see Spain soon?
“They should follow the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs. The travel restrictions are being lifted and we are getting back to normal, so when they are ready to travel, they can be sure that Spain is a safe destination. Our country has worked hard to implement effective health protocols and measures in order to welcome all tourists back again. Spain awaits you.”
For more information on travelling to Spain, visit www.spain.info
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