Last night the Andalusian Tourist Board, along with the Spanish Tourist Office in Ireland, organised an event at Trinity College Dublin to thank all the Irish travel trade and media for their invaluable business and support.
The guest of honour for the evening was H.E. Javier Garrigues Flores, Ambassador of Spain, who said that Andalucia was not just one of the most beautiful regions in Spain but in Europe and that it offered magnificent variety to visitors not just in terms of its culture but its food, wine, golf and tourism product are excellent. He outlined that now more than ever how important tourism was to the Spanish economy and how well received Irish visitors are.
Gonzalo Ceballos, Director of the Spanish Tourism Office outlined that this was the second time that Andalucia had come to Trinity College for this important event and that it was rapidly becoming an essential event in the travel industry calendar. In all 60 members of the travel trade and journalists, as well as 14 Andalusian supplier companies, were in attendance. He thanked Antonio Martin-Machuca Ales and his colleagues in the regional tourist boards for their support and their trade partners from the region for their participation.
Andalucia has become one of the world’s most diverse tourist destinations. Last year 288,319 Irish residents visited Andalucia, 4% more than in 2011. The average stay increased by 0.3 days. Direct air connections with Malaga and Seville give easy access to the region as well as the AVE high-speed train connections to Malaga, Seville and Cordoba.
Ireland had strong numbers of 1.2 million visitors to Spain in 2012 and they are hopeful of 2% or 3% growth in 2013. Gonzalo thanked the ambassador for his continued support and thanked the Andalucia delegation for bringing the sun to Dublin. He looked forward to welcoming the ITAA conference to Granada in October 2013.
The evening finished after an excellent dinner catered by the in-house Trinity Collegeteam, (take a bow, Karl O’Connell and colleagues!), entertainment was provided by the internationally renowned flamenco dancer Virgina Vélez, with songs by the tenor Miguel Ángel Sánchez and the soprano Ana Cadoval. It was an intense and passionate performance. A perfect ending to a wonderful evening.