During the presentation of the Strategic Plan for the Andalusian Meeting and Trade Fair Industry, which was held last July 5 before an audience comprising representatives of the regional tourist industry, Paulino Plata, the regional minister of tourism, commerce and sports, listed the conclusions of the report on the current state of the Andalusian meeting and trade fair industry, and mentioned some of the strategic measures programmed by the regional ministry to boost its competitiveness.
An industry with financial clout With roughly 1.2 million meeting, congress and trade fair participants per year, Andalusia is Spain’s third most important region as regards the number of delegates and events. According to the ICCA ranking, Seville is the most popular Andalusian destination (ranked 42nd in the World), followed by Granada and Malaga. Likewise, the association reports on the great financial impact that the industry is having on other provincial capitals and medium-sized towns, such as Cordoba, Jerez, Cadiz, Ubeda and Baeza.
In order to emphasise the industry’s importance, the regional minister drew attention to the fact that foreign delegates spend on average 534 euros per day, compared with 205 euros their Spanish counterparts usually spend, while daily spending of traditional tourists is below 100 euros.
An overall investment of around 70 million euros before 2008 Minister Plata went on to explain that the Regional Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Sports plans to invest approximately 50 million euros in a marketing plan to attract international congress, convention and trade fair organisers, and some 20 million euros in modernising exhibition and congress facilities to adapt them to the current demand.
Apart from the strategy designed by the regional ministry, whose specific measures include putting a congress facility master plan into action to increase participation in Andalusia’s Congress Facility Network, and to facilitate the use of historical buildings for the celebration of events. The regional minister encouraged the private sector to collaborate actively in the strategic plan with the object of “working together to attract the organisers of large events to Andalusia” and to improve the industry’s financial results.
SWOT analysis of the industry As regards weaknesses, Minister Plata singled out the lack of co-ordination between the different promotional agencies, both locally and regionally, and the fact that Malaga Airport is the only one in the region offering a wide range of international connections.
In the regional minister’s opinion, the reduction in the price of long-haul air fares due to the proliferation of low-cost airlines, the glut in congress facilities, increased competition from emerging destinations, above all in the northern Mediterranean, and the problem of overcrowding in some parts of Andalusia, are the main threats faced by the region.
As to strengths, Plata highlighted hotel quality, the possibility of using historical buildings as venues, the fact that the majority of Andalusian destinations are well-known on the international circuit, and the region’s reputation for being a fun place.
On the subject of opportunities, the regional minister stressed that “Andalusia” is a consolidated brand name, before going on to mention the region’s transport network, geopolitical stability, climate, and unique cultural and natural heritage, among other strong points.
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