News Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism

Qatar tour operator, Al Sulaiman Travel, visits the Basque Country to add the region to its catalogue of tourist destinations

2011 March 16

This is the second time an Arab tour agency has visited the Basque Country since the visit made by the Lehendakari, Patxi López, to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in January

The business mission led by the Lehendakari, Patxi López, in January to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar continues to bear fruit. Whilst in February Dubai's leading tour operator, the Al Rais Holidays Group, visited the Basque Country to experience the region's tourist attractions first hand in order to enable them to present these destinations to their clients in the near future, we now have a tour operator from Qatar visiting the region.

The tour operator Al Sulaiman did not hesitate to respond to the invitation extended by the Basque Government and is considering including the Basque Country in its catalogue of tourist destinations.

During their stay, representatives from the Arab tour operator visited a selection of the Basque Country's finest hotels as well as some of the region's most prestigious restaurants, including a number of Michelin star establishments.

On Tuesday the group was taken on a tour of the city of Bilbao, which included stops at the Guggenheim museum and the Alhóndiga. Today they will visit Vitoria and take a tour of the medieval town centre and the Santa María Cathedral. They may also stop off at the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve. Tomorrow they will travel to San Sebastián for a stroll along La Concha and to see attractions such as the Aquarium, in addition to visiting Zarautz and Getaria. On Friday they will conclude their stay by visiting other coastal towns such as Hondarribia.

The delegation was led by the general manager of the Arab tour operator, Joseph Anton Venisius, who was accompanied by the reservations manager, Mohamed Samir Ahmed.

The tourist resources that are causing the greatest impact amongst the Arab group are the historical town centres and shopping areas of the region's three capital cities, as well as the region's museums and the range of possibilities the Basque Country offers in terms of holidays for families from Qatar.

A presentation to a thousand clients

"Great efforts are being taken to position the Basque Country as an elite tourist destination ideal for those who enjoy five-star hotels, fine dining, as well as the shopping in our capital cities," stated the Basque Government's Director for Tourism, Isabel Muela.

The Director for Tourism has also been invited to Dubai on the 16th of April to present the Basque Country as a tourist destination to the top thousand clients of Al Rais Holidays in this Arab country. The tour operator is already offering the Basque Country as a tourist destination to its clients in Dubai.

The arrival of a third tour operator from the region is expected within the forthcoming weeks, the result of the trip led by the Lehendakari in January.

Media interested in scheduling an interview or requesting further information should contact the Basque Government's Department for Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism. 945 019994 /

Vitoria-Gasteiz, 16th of March, 2011

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