July 6, 2011
In the next 10 or 15 years China will become the first source country of tourists for Spain, so that Spain has to be well positioned to receive this “bang”. Said the Spanish government official in the Spain-China Forum in Barcelona.
In this sense, he stressed the importance of streamline visa procedures for Chinese to visit Spain and increasing direct flights.
Last year Spain received a total of 102,000 Chinese tourists and the Spanish consulate issued 42,000 visas, which means that the rest was issued in the offices of other countries.
Spanish Secretary of State stressed the importance of streamlining the issuance of visas and has said that Spain “transplanted” in China the system that has been implemented in Russia and that is to strengthen the staff dedicated to this task.
Another major problem to attract Chinese tourists to Spain is the few direct air links between the two countries. According Mesquida, while the Madrid-Beijing has five direct weekly frequencies, France has 63 flights a week, so the Government keeps in touch with airlines to encourage them to open new direct flights.
He also mentioned the need for progress in other areas, as there are more Chinese speaking tour guides, it is important to do good market research on the different types of tourists, increase online advertising, and provide better signage in hotels and restaurants.
He said that the Chinese have an unclear image of Spain which is linked to topics like bullfighting and flamenco.
Secretary of State also recalled the great connection between sport and tourism, the Tourism Ministry is planning to hold a party of the Spanish in China and, following an agreement with Real Madrid, the football team will be in China between 3rd and 6th of August.