SPAIN - Tourism
President of Mallorca Convention Bureau, General Manager of Convention Center of Palma
A hotel executive by vocation and with proven experience within the Meliá Hotels International group, Ramón Vidal Castro completed a degree in hotel management at the University of Madrid and a master’s degree in general management at Cornell University in New York. He has extensive experience in hotel management both in Spain and abroad. Since its opening in 2017, he has been General Manager of the Convention Center of Palma. In addition, he is the President of the Mallorca Convention Bureau. Previously, he was in charge of the general management of Meliá Castilla Hotel.
The largest convention center in the Balearic Islands, the Convention Center of Palma has played a major role in raising the profile of Mallorca as a unique and high-end MICE destination.
What importance has the MICE offering gained in Mallorca’s tourism diversification strategy?
The Convention Center of Palma was conceived more than 10 years ago as part of transformation efforts toward a much more sustainable tourism model. The government of the Balearic Islands and the city council commissioned the construction of the convention center, and Meliá was awarded a 15-year operation concession. In 2017, Meliá started the operations with a vision to position Mallorca and Palma as a unique destination for MICE-related activities. MICE tourism would not only to break the seasonality of tourism on the island, but also allow it to enter fully into the world of large congresses, with all the benefits that they bring. We have a great opportunity to integrate scientific congresses and meetings of large international companies with local companies and scientific society. As a result of the opening of the Palacio de Congresos, we have gained extensive experience, new infrastructures have been developed, new congress centers have opened in areas that were before purely tourist areas, and complementary facilities are being opened.
How successful has the Convention Center of Palma been?
The convention center did not stop, even in the period of global shutdown with COVID-19. We have played a fundamental role to support the island’s healthcare infrastructure. We have medicalized the convention center, along with its hotel Meliá Palma Bay, and helped expand the capacity of healthcare spaces to attend to COVID-19 patients. In June 2021, we reactivated an important part of tourism activity on the island, and the immediate public response was positive. Palma is the number-one destination in Spain in terms of recovery and also in terms of MICE activity. We saw eagerness from both companies and associations to get together again, and Mallorca was in a great position to capture that growing demand, thanks to its unique selling points. We expect to move forward further with the consolidation of MICE in 2022, and for 2023-24 we have extremely optimistic projections for MICE, not only for the convention center, but also for the other venues on the island that are ready to take on MICE activities.
What added value has Meliá brought to the management of the Convention Center of Palma?
What we have done for the first time is bring the excellence of our hotels to the congress centers. This is indeed innovative and also involves key components such as the entire food and beverage offering. Meliá also operates 1,500 rooms close to Palacio de Congresos, and that allows us to move forward, push harder to get groups, be much more agile in our response, and achieve greater consolidation of events. Undoubtedly, Meliá’s greatest strength in the management of the Convention Center of Palma is its ability to apply all its sustainability policy practices as a company recognized worldwide. Our goal is to play a key role in the economic transformation of Palma city and the island of Mallorca through business travel, and to become a new social and cultural hub for residents and a benchmark for innovation and sustainability in the international travel industry. That is why we are working in several areas such as enhancing the employability of vulnerable people in society, promoting measures to advance in the circular economy, combating climate change, and providing access to quality social and leisure events.
How the MICE sector has grown in Mallorca to hold corporate events of any size?
The Convention Center of Palma has encouraged the private and public sector, not only in the city of Palma, but throughout the island, to create new facilities for the meetings and events industry. New facilities that serve to support all this business have also emerged, and also it is worth mentioning the enormous quality, cutting-edge technology of the complementary offer of Mallorca for business visitors.
SPAIN - Real Estate & Construction
Director, Jaime Salvá Architecture and Interior Design
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