Roughly 1.2 million Americans visit Spain each year, and 300,000 of them make their way to Andalucia (a.k.a. Andalusia) in southern Spain. This region enjoys a unique landscape in Europe that draws more than 16 million visitors each year (many from within Spain, but Germany, France and the UK are also top markets).

Experience Andalucia, Spain:

[flgallery id=56/]

About 20% of those who go to Andalucia are there for business reasons, typically attending a meeting, incentive, convention or other event, says Antonio Martin-Machuca, marketing director for the Andalucia Tourist Board.

Martin-Machuca was recently in Chicago, Montreal and Toronto with other local suppliers to promote tourism to the region.

Antonio Martin-Machuca,

Antonio Martin-Machuca,Marketing Director, Andalucia Tourist Board

And why not? Andalusia is a region that has more than 300 days of sunlight each year, but it also has a diverse terrain that includes mountains, rivers and even snow capped peaks. Gastronomy and culture are other reasons for visitors.

It may surprise you to realize that Andalucia — which includes popular cities like Sevilla, Malaga, Cadiz, Granada, Cordoba, Huelva, Jaen and Almeria — is actually larger than countries like Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Austria or Switzerland.

Four and five star hotels are important to business travelers — whether they are working or traveling on leisure. Andalusia currently has 436 hotels in these categories, and 20 conference and exhibition centers, according to the Andalucia Tourist Board.

For meetings, planners typically choose Malaga and Sevilla – both which have new convention centers – as well as Granada and Cordoba.

(Check out our review, 24 hours in Cordoba, Spain)

Turismo Andaluz Delegation, September 2013

The Tourist Office of Spain in Chicago joined the Turismo Andaluz delegation at a Chicago event to promote the destination on September 19, 2013. Courtesy image.

The vast majority of meetings held in Andalucia are from within Spain, Germany and the UK, according to local destination experts. And the number of corporate meetings and events have increased slightly this year.

Factors contributing to this include Andalucia’s competitive pricing, quality service and availability of modern technology.

A couple examples of upcoming conferences being held in Andalucia include:

Chicago-based Chiara Mangiameli specializes in Andalusian entertainment

Chicago-based Chiara Mangiameli (  performed flamenco on September 19, 2013. Specializing in Andalusian entertainment for U.S.-based Spain themed events, they are about as authentic as you can get! © 2013 Rob Hard

To be sure, smaller cities like these should continue to gain the attention of meeting planners as the European economy continues to recover, and the international meetings market seeks out unique destinations with the infrastructure and transportation to support programs (there are five airports within Andalucia).

Still, when traveling to Spanish cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, many business travelers extend their stay and spend personal time in Andalucia, Martin-Macuca adds.

Andalucia suppliers at the Chicago event included:

Antonio Martín-Machuca

Andalucia Tourism

Ainhoa Cobo

Andalucia Tourism

Natalia Bóveda

Costal del Sol Tourist Board

Pedro García


Lumi de María


Sandra Burgos

Malaga City Tourism Board – Malaga Town Hall

Pepe Puebla

Tecnica Incentives

Natalia Díaz

Almeria Tourist Promotion Board

Olga Navarro

Viajes ITB


Have you traveled to Andalucia? Share your comments here about Sevilla, Malaga, Cadiz, Granada, Cordoba, Huelva, Jaen and Almeria.