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Miguel Sanz

SPAIN - Tourism

Miguel Sanz

General Director, Spanish Tourism Institute (Turespaña)


Miguel Sanz graduated in business studies in the UK, where he also completed a master’s degree in Latin American politics and economics at the London School of Economics. His professional career in Spain has been developed in various marketing and cultural communication projects, mainly in the field of tourism. He has been director of marketing and promotion of Turismo Madrid, coordinator of the tourism area of the municipal company Promoción Madrid, and, since 2016, director of tourism of Madrid Destino. Since 2018, he has been a member of the board of European Cities Marketing. In 2020, he was appointed General Director of Turespaña.

Turespaña is focusing on reinforcing Spain's position as a leading tourist destination while taking the necessary measures while developing a more sustainable sector in the medium term.

Turespaña was created with the objective of promoting Spain as a tourist destination in international markets. What were some of the company’s most interesting initiatives beyond COVID-19?

Practically all sectors were impacted by the pandemic, and tourism is no exception. We have set out to preserve Spain’s tourism brand mainly through reinforcing its main attributes, such as safety. Beyond this, we put out the emotional component, with Spain’s rich lifestyle, gastronomy, culture, history, architecture, and heritage. We work closely with B2B to help and support the Spanish tourism sector, draw in visitors, and sell Spain as a product so that the external sector is informed about the offer that remains strong in Spain, as well as its conditions. We have been working via our central offices in Madrid and the 33 tourism offices that Turespaña runs abroad. Maintaining their operations, we have made a switch from offline to online. For example, we have promoted Spanish gastronomy through workshops on how to cook paella at home, and online museum visits to the Prado Museum, castles, palaces, and cathedrals, for example.

What is your 2021-2024 strategic plan, and what are the phases and objectives of this plan?

Turespaña carries out strategic planning every four years. Due to the pandemic, the previous strategic plan had to be updated to focus on the recovery of tourism. All consulting firm analyses agree tourism will take about three years to recover. Therefore, looking toward 2023, figures are expected to be similar to those prior to the pandemic. The 2021-2024 plan currently consists of a post-pandemic recovery plan with two strategic objectives: recovery speed and intensity; and recovery based on the pillar of sustainability from an environmental, social, and economic point of view. Furthermore, we aim to have greater presence in inland destinations, urban Spanish destinations such as Madrid and Barcelona, and smaller cities. What we look to achieve with our second strategic objective is to attract tourists who are more profitable and contribute to the sustainability of Spain as a tourist destination.

The Paradores of Spain are unique, historic accommodations. There are more than 100 throughout Spain, and the next project is to open the Parador in Ibiza. What can you tell us about this project?

The Parador in Ibiza is set to become one of the chain’s most iconic. First, this comes from its location on a world-renowned island such as Ibiza. Second, it is the first Parador to be located on the Balearic Islands. Third, it will be located in one of the cities designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO; that is to say, it is located in one of 13 so-designated unique cities across the world due to its special heritage value. It is a building with Phoenician and Roman remains, and which stands to the present day. That history is represented in this building. This Parador stands atop the hill, with views that dominate the entire panorama.

What are Turespaña’s main objectives for 2021?

Turespaña has launched a 2021 summer campaign, You Deserve Spain, which is considered to be a unique one unlike any other campaign done so far. Its objectives are to recover as many visitors and as much revenue as possible this summer, in order to consolidate and strengthen recovery. To achieve this, we must break down three areas of resistance. The first is to dismantle the fear of traveling, and, to this end, we have launched our Travel Safe. Travel Again campaign, which will remain active as long as the restrictions continue. The second point is to eliminate the fear of traveling outside the country. We are doing so by explaining the conditions of traveling to Spain and the security measures in the country. The third point is to encourage people to come to Spain; here, we are activating the word Spain to become synonymous with the word vacation.



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