For a long time Valencia was overshadowed by renowned Spanish tourist destinations, such as Barcelona or Palma de Mallorca, but the Alinghi and the 2007 32nd America’s Cup focused on the Mediterranean metropolis.
Since then, Valencia has continued to develop, in 2020 the city was voted the most liveable destination for expats in an international survey, in 2022 Valencia is the “Design Capital of the World” and only recently the third largest city in Spain was voted “European Capital of Smart Tourism”. 2022 ‘.
Miriam Mascarós is market manager for Switzerland at the municipal tourism organization Visit Valencia.
Miriam Mascarós, until the pandemic, Swiss flew up to three times a day from Zurich to Valencia, more than any other airline. How important was – and is – Switzerland for you?
The Swiss market is important for our city, because most Swiss tourists correspond exactly to the segment we want to attract: a well-funded visitor interested in culture, gastronomy, high-class hotels and shopping. Around 25,000 tourists from Switzerland visit us every year. While this is not a particularly large number, it does mean that upward growth is still possible
The Covid19 pandemic has hit Spain and its tourism hard. How did you experience this time at Visit Valencia?
In the first few months, we looked with concern at the dramatic situation of the pandemic and feared long-term consequences for our sector. We have tried to maintain Valencia’s popularity as a travel destination in international markets through our communication agencies. We have also worked to provide regular information updates to travel agencies and tour operators to whom we have offered our support, including while conducting joint marketing campaigns.
Fortunately, the situation has eased a bit with vaccinations, the sector is recovering quite quickly and reaches values similar to those of 2019.
What steps have you taken this year, 2021, to attract guests to Valencia? Special guests from Switzerland?
Our marketing strategy is based on the dissemination of news about our city through the media, travel agencies and other partners such as tour operators or airlines. For this we use our CRM system, our communication agency for the DACH countries and the Turespaña branch in Zurich.
We also participate in events aimed at travel professionals, such as the online event “Experience Spain”, organized by the Aviareps agency for DACH countries.
“Design Capital of the World” and “Intelligent Tourism Capital”, both in 2022. So is next year special?
The team is working hard, collaborating with the various authorities of the Comunidad Valenciana to get all these projects off the ground. 2022 is the year of Valencia not only for these two events, but because we are working on further and far-reaching projects that are part of our overall urban strategy.
We are working on various sustainability projects, for example we are the first city in the world to reduce CO emissions2– the footprint generated by tourism is being certified, as we are doing with H.2Or print you have already made. All this with the aim of having a positive tourist impact on our territory.
How important is the MICE segment to you? What can Valencia offer potential customers from Switzerland right now?
It is a particularly important target group because it helps to better distribute demand seasonally and generates an added value of 113 million euros for the city. Valencia offers a variety of first-rate venues, such as the Palace of Congresses, the Valencia Fair or the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Santiago Calatrava’s City of Arts and Sciences.
In addition, our range of hotels is constantly being renewed and we also have agencies with many years of experience in the field of group incentive travel or in organizing events. And of course we have excellent leisure and cultural activities, first-class gastronomy working with fresh produce from the surrounding area and an exceptional climate.
(Daniel Izquierdo-Haenni, Valencia)