News Lehendakaritza

Various “firm” agreements on tourism confirmed with Arab tour operators for visits to the Basque Country

2011 January 20

Isabel Muela dubbed the business mission a "success" and highlighted the great amount of interest in the Basque Country expressed by both the United Arab Emirates and Qatar

Promoting the Basque Country as a tourist destination has been one of the objectives of this week's business mission to the Persian Gulf, and the mission has had a "very positive" outcome. Isabel Muela, the Basque Government's head of tourism, hailed as a "success" the agreements reached with at least five of the seven tour operators she met with. The tour operators will visit the Basque Country and may include it as one of the destinations they promote. According to sources within the delegation, three of the tour operators are to travel to the Basque Country immediately, while one of them has already confirmed its interest in the region without needing to travel there. Moreover, the Dubai-based tour operator Al Rais Holidays has invited Basque representatives to a conference taking place on the 16th of April, where it will present the world's best tourist destinations to its 1000 most exclusive clients.

Head of Tourism Isabel Muela dubbed her time in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar a "success", as she achieved her goal of holding meetings with the major tour operators. Of the seven companies she met with, five have promised to visit the Basque Country to gain a more complete understanding of the country's tourist, cultural and hotel facilities; three of the companies are to travel immediately while one may start offering a package tour this very year. Muela emphasised that the commitment to "quality and excellence" in tourism fits perfectly with the tour operators' aims and objectives in tourism.

Muela also drew attention to the important work done by the Lehendakari in opening a great number of doors and facilitating a positive predisposition on the part of the tour operators. An example of this positive reception is the invitation extended to Basque representatives by Dubai-based tour operator Al Rais Holidays to attend its presentation of the world's best tourist destinations to its 1000 most exclusive clients, set to take place on the 16th of April this year. Moreover, Qatari tour operator Regency Travel Tours will visit the Basque Country in May, to attend the Tourism Fair.

The tour operators expressed particular interest in the fusion of modernity and innovation that the Basque Country promotes and were also interested in finding out more about elements of Basque culture, such as the txalaparta percussion instrument, the Basque pelota ball game and the country's folklore. They were also attracted by the Basque Country's average temperature, which at 18°C is far more agreeable than the temperatures they have to endure in their respective countries for more than seven months of the year. Other areas they were interested in included the wide range of retail opportunities available in the cities, and medical provision, in terms of beauty treatments and ophthalmology.

The objective now is to strengthen the relationships that have been forged this week and to continue working on the brand image of the destination that the Basque Country aspires to be.


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Politicians attending the event
(IX term 2009 - 2012)