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:
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.
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)
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:
- Spanish Society of International Medicine 34th Annual Congress, November 2013, Malaga (2500 people)
- IOF-ESCEO World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases, April 2014, Sevilla (5000 people)
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:
|Costal del Sol Tourist Board|
Lumi de María
Have you traveled to Andalucia? Share your comments here about Sevilla, Malaga, Cadiz, Granada, Cordoba, Huelva, Jaen and Almeria.