Interview with the Director of the Catalan Tourism Board in the Nordic countries
This section called MAXinterviews aims to inform you through experts talking about really unique projects that have a differential value. With only 4 questions and answers we seek to discover what is happening in the tourism industry with an emphasis on the MICE segment and destination of Spain.
Did you know that the Catalan Tourism Board (CTB) has 12 offices throughout the world that do a great promotional work? The Helsinki office was one of the first to be created and is dedicated to attracting visitors from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia and Iceland to Catalonia.
If you would like to know more about Catalonia as a destination for Incentives, you should take a look at our interview with Eulàlia Cabana, who is the director of the CTB office in the Nordic countries, which is a program created by the Catalan Tourism Board to place the region of Catalonia as a leading destination among others in the area of meetings, conferences, conventions and incentive trips. We hope you enjoy this interview!
What is the main responsability of the Helsinki CTB Office?
The objective of the CTB Office in the Nordic countries is the promotion of Catalonia as a tourist destination. This implies acquiring a deep knowledge of the market, its actors, and being able to detect the different opportunities that the market offers for the promotion and commercialization of the Catalonia brand. This allows us to establish a promotion and communication action plan to establish bridges between the Nordic and Catalan professionals and to strengthen a flow of Nordic tourism to Catalonia which is responsible, gratifying and grateful.
With more than 10 years of experience in Helsinki, how do you see the evolution of Scandinavian visitors to Catalonia?
Barcelona remains the great gateway. Barcelona fascinates the nordic visitors, it is the perfect combination where every visitor finds what they are looking for. The Nordic tourist reads before they travel, is interested in the offer, is curious, wants to try, know and live the destination.
This has helped us to make the rest of Catalonia known to the Nordics: If they want to see where the wine they are drinking is growing, they can discover our vineyards, if they wish to disconnect a couple of days after a congress, they can play in our Golf courses, if they are looking for a place to hold a meeting away from their daily obligations, we offer them an inspiring framework.
We have to take into account that we are talking about a small large market, small because in terms of number of inhabitants it is (25.5 million in total) and large because it has great potential. It is also the European tourist who visits Catalonia with a higher expenditure per day.
What is your opinion about the flight connections between Scandinavia and Catalonia?
We are currently talking about regular flights. As you know, good connectivity is basic. A destination is not attractive if it does not have good connections. In the last 11 years the map of regular flights from Nordic airports to Catalonia has been evolving. In 2006 there were 60 direct flights a week from 8 Nordic airports to 2 Catalan airports. 10 years later, 183 flights a week were reached from 15 Nordic airports. Obviously, the more direct connections exist, more flexibility and therefore more visitors.
What are the main values of Catalonia to attract people from the MICE Industry?
I always say that the main value of Catalonia, are the professionals who work in the sector. In Catalonia we have a complete offer, but no matter how good the product is, if you do not have good professionals behind, it is impossible to keep the standard. Speaking to a manager of a Swedish MICE agency, she told me that she could find nicer and more exclusive hotels, meeting spaces and facilities in other destinations, but she knew that she would not find better professionals.
The personal relationship is what makes the customer want to return, knowing that you can count on people who will give all their knowledge, experience and desire to make everything come out perfect. To describe Catalonia to a Nordic in two words, I describe it as “seriously mediterranean”, a region where you can find the human warmth, the light, the color of the mediterranean with a close, effective, responsible, professional and upcoming way of working.