Ignacio Ducasse Gutierrez, Director, Tourism Office of Spain in India, stresses that the Indian traveller is getting more sophisticated by the day, scouting for unique cultural and culinary experiences. Whereas, Spain has been training at garnering a bigger chunk of sophisticated travellers as a part of its global, and India, tourism strategy. He notes that these developments are “a perfect match” for Spain Tourism’s India outreach. Excerpts from the interview:
We understand that the luxury segment has been doing fairly well in Spain, along with several Spanish luxury brands, especially in the last two quarters. Has the trend reflected on the Indian outbound as well? How is the luxury outbound doing?
Spain has been attracting lots of tourists. We attracted over 80 million international visitors last year. So, for many years now, we have been concentrating more on increasing the quality of experience than an increase in numbers. That has been a global strategy for us and that is what we use in India. We believe that there is a big segment of travellers in India which is looking for luxury options and we get a lot of tours from that.
However, more than the luxury segment, we are trying to attract the sophisticated traveller. Someone who is looking for something else; someone who enjoys the gastronomy; enjoys Spanish wine and culture. And I think this is also the trend in India. I think that the Indian traveller is getting more sophisticated with each passing year, so it is a perfect match there.
You gave us an insight into the qualitative side of the Indian outbound? What is happening in terms of numbers?
The number of Indian travellers coming to Spain in 2017 was 1,410,000 – which means an increase of 33.6 percent in the number of travellers from 2016. We do not deduce monthly figures. The cumulative figures for 2018, till now, suggest that the outbound to Spain from India is extremely strong.
Yet another phenomenon for Spain, on a global scale, has been the rise of ‘bleisure’ travel. Mixing business and leisure – how is that segment unfolding among Indian outbound?
MICE, including all kinds of groups, are very important for us. We have estimated that about 30 percent of the total Indian outbound come from MICE tourism. Spain is a very enjoyable country, so the leisure side is very important for people who organise these MICE trips. Even for more business-oriented groups, one can plan very nice escapades, even for a few hours. There is a combination of two and it is a growing one. We are working with three international groups for the same.