1876: a year of significant political events in Spain, and also the year a popular Spanish beer began production
A natural holiday destination for those seeking sunshine, rich culture & history, and flavorful cuisine, Spain has enjoyed being one of the most visited European countries. The demand for a Spanish vacation has not diminished. Standing strong, Spain continues to experience tourism with 8.9% growth from 2016, in spite of the Catalonia referendum, terrorist attacks, and Brexit. 2017 saw 82 million arrivals with Britain, Germany and France making up for half the number of international visitors. One quarter of visitors traveled to the Catalonia region in the north east of Spain, best known for its gastronomy and beaches. Thomas Herduin, Head of Hospitality Partnerships at Tink Labs Europe, speaks to us about the future of Travel & Tourism in Spain.
Tell us a little bit about Spain. What about it draws travelers in?
Spain is a fantastic destination for tourists, the weather is fantastic with more than 300 days of sun every year. Spanish culture is made up of fiestas & popular celebrations that are always fun to watch, and the gastronomy is one of the best in the world (the best restaurant was in Spain for a few years in a row.) Finally, it’s a great beach destination with more than 80% of coast. There is no best season in Spain because every season is best season!
In a developed and perhaps over-saturated market like Spain, especially Barcelona, how do you think players in the hospitality sector can stand out and attract travelers?
Barcelona is a saturated market. The city hall had to reject new openings in the city center as there are already too many hospitality offerings. Hotels have to compete amongst themselves as well as with a strong Airbnb bid. Setting themselves apart is key, service and technology are the 2 main differentiators. 5-star hotels offer a high level of service but in terms of technology, Spanish hotels are lacking behind. Very few are tech-oriented because it’s not something guests expect when they travel to Spain. We are educating hotels on the importance of technology. It will be a key differentiator in the coming years and they have to be prepared for that if they want to stay ahead.
Typical Spanish ironwork balconies, and cathedral
In what ways do you think Spain can innovate to keep up with travelers’ rising standards & expectations?
Spain must move forward with technology and start upgrading their room technology. The current in-room technology needs to be upgraded as the 21st century evolves and handy is definitely a piece of technology that most hotels consider as an upgrade.
Ceiling of interior of La Sagrada Familia by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi
What do you think is the best thing about having handy as a traveler in Spain?
When you come to Spain, you expect good food, sun, and nice beaches. For all of that, you need a travel buddy to guide you to the best places. handy is the perfect travel companion for guests visiting Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, or Mallorca. The curated LUXOS city guide provides great recommendations on what to do, where to go, and what to see in each of these cities.
Day festival in southeastern Spain
What is your best advice for eating like a true Spaniard? Red sangria or white? Seafood paella or a cured meat platter? Churros or tarta de queso?
My recommendation in terms of food when you come to Barcelona: go to a restaurant by the beach and order a fideuá (local paella with noodles instead of rice) with a glass of white wine, followed by a Catalan cream for dessert. You will not be disappointed!
Feasts, fiestas, and fun in the sun with white wine