Martín Berasategui, Modesto Lomba, Edurne Pasaban and Miguel de la Quadra-Salcedo become "Ambassadors of the Basque Country"
The Basque Government has launched the new website www.euskadisaboreala.es, a meeting point for all friends of the Basque Country
The Vice-Minister for Trade and Tourism, Pilar Zorrilla, today launched the new campaign "The Basque Country Seeks Ambassadors" together with Isabel Muela, Director of Tourism, and the Director of the Basque tourism agency Basquetour, Ana Izaguirre.
Basques living outside our borders have always taken pride in acting as ambassadors for their homeland. They are a people who know how to adapt to their host country whilst maintaining a great passion for the land they have left behind... It is also true that over the years we have met people who, having visited the Basque Country, have become exceptional ambassadors for our region, telling their fellow countrymen about our extraordinary cuisine, culture, and unique traditions, our character...
This is the common thread of our campaign "The Basque Country Seeks Ambassadors", which was launched in July, a campaign open to all lovers of the Basque Country, regardless of whether or not they live in our Autonomous Community.
The unique feature of this Basque Government initiative involves its link to new technologies. www.euskadisaboreala.es / www.euskadigozaezazu.net is the website we have created in order to provide an opportunity for anyone and everyone, irrespective of their location, to share their experiences of the Basque Country, their photos, videos, etcetera. This invitation is extended to anyone who might consider themselves an "Ambassador of the Basque Country".
We are dealing with a fresh and experimental exercise that places its contents in the hands of our ambassadors, the true protagonists of this campaign.
The initiative was initially started as an anonymous venture open to all comers. Since July, more than 1800 friends of the Basque Country have gained the title of "ambassador", whilst visits to the site now number more than 100,000.
Now, in addition to the anonymous contributions, there is a group of internationally recognised figures who wish to actively participate in this campaign on purely altruistic grounds. To date, Martín Berasategui, Modesto Lomba, Edurne Pasaban and Miguel de la Quadra-Salcedo have all signed up to the initiative.
These four figures have related their experiences and memories, allowing us to accompany them to their favourite corners of the land, as recorded in the videos which welcome visitors to the website. We will soon be adding other well-known faces from the world of culture, sport, and gastronomy to our list of "ambassadors".
As well as our webpage, we have also turned Facebook into another meeting point for fans with the creation of the group 'Yo también soy embajador/a de Euskadi' ("I'm also an ambassador of the Basque Country"). Given the importance of this kind of social network in modern times, the campaign deemed it essential to join in and spread the word about the Basque Country.
Other formats where you can find our Basque "ambassadors" include: banderols on various buildings in Madrid, Barcelona, and Bilbao; in metro stations in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia; on awnings in San Sebastián, Vitoria, Burgos, León, Alicante, Pamplona, Logroño, Salamanca and Zaragoza; and in various media in the national press and other online formats.
This campaign will soon be accompanied by other activities promoting tourism in the Basque Country. Cities such as London and Milan will host different Government initiatives to raise awareness of the tourism resources of the Basque Country.
The best year for Basque tourism
The "Ambassadors of the Basque Country" campaign coincides with the best year for Basque tourism to date. The latest statistics published by Eustat (the Basque Institute of Statistics) reveal that August 2010 was the month that registered the highest numbers of visitors to the Basque Country in its history (266,000). In total, from January onwards more than 1.5 million people have visited the Autonomous Community, confirming this upwards trend.
The Basque Country has recorded 14 consecutive months of growth, with an increase of 13 % in visitors and a 12% increase in overnight stays in 2010.
This year, the Basque Government approved a new marketing plan and its efficiency has been demonstrated over recent months. This new form of promotion of Basque tourism resources has been characterised by a strong commitment to new technologies and the strengthening of products such as gastronomy and wine, city breaks and business and nature tourism, amongst other elements.
Vitoria-Gasteiz, 4th October 2010