60 international tourism agents participating in Meet Basque Country discover the gastronomic culture of the Basque Country in Vitoria-Gasteiz

2023 October 4
  • Tour operators visited the Basque Country throughout the week with the help of the Department of Tourism of the Basque Government to close agreements with Basque tourism companies in the marketing of the destination

More than 60 international agents and tour operators arrived in the Basque Country, in a trip organised by the Department of Tourism, Trade and Consumer Affairs, through Basquetour, the Basque Tourism Agency. After a first stop in San Sebastian, they landed in the territory of Alava, and were received by the Minister of Tourism, Trade and Consumer Affairs, Javier Hurtado, the Director of Employment Promotion, Trade and Tourism of Alava, Felipe García, and the Councilor for Economic Promotion, Employment, Trade and Tourism, María Nanclares, in Vitoria-Gasteiz.

The Minister wanted to highlight the gastronomic culture of the Basque Country, which is internationally recognised “and one of the primary motivations of those visiting us”. In addition, he reminded people that in Álava we also find the wines of Rioja Alavesa, one of the most prestigious designations of origin, and that just an hour from the capital “you can enjoy excellent wineries, routes and an environment of great archaeological heritage”.

The visit of the international agents is part of the different actions being carried out by the Department of Tourism, Trade and Consumer Affairs to attract tourism, especially long-distance tourism. The Minister Javier Hurtado analysed the positive results of tourism during the summer and the seasonally adjusted growth in the trough periods, from January to June we grew by 15%, but in the months of July and August we only grew by 0.4%. In addition, he highlighted the growth of international tourism in these first 8 months of the year. “This is good news because it was the period most affected by the pandemic and on which we have focused our promotional efforts, since it contributes significantly to de-seasonalisation, an increase in the length of stays, now 4.4 days, and in spending. From January to August, international tourism grew by 16% compared to 4.1% for national tourism, and in the last months looked at, May, June, July and August, international tourism already exceeds national tourism in entries.”

Meet Basque Country

The agents were involved in different activities and held meetings over the period 3rd to 6th October in a mission with 2 main objectives.

Firstly, to put international agents, mainly tour operators, in contact with Basque companies and tourism agents, to create collaborations and agreements for the marketing of the Basque destination. To this end, they held different meetings and a workshop to contact the tourism agencies and companies of the Basque Country.

Secondly, throughout the week the tourist agents made different “fam trips” , that is, activities and visits related to the theme in which they are specialised and for which they want to start marketing the Basque destination. These themes include some of the priority tourism products for the Basque Country, such as gastronomy, touring, cycle tourism, nature tourism and MICE business tourism.

The tour operators who came to the Basque Country were from 17 different countries: Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Poland, Morocco, Japan, Argentina, Brazil and the United States. During their stay in the Basque Country, they had 3 meetings in the Basque capitals, as well as their own schedule of visits. After the meetings in Donostia, and Vitoria-Gasteiz, on the 6th the agents travelled to Bilbao, where there was a workshop to put international operators and Basque companies who previously wanted to hold meetings in touch with each other. The theme of the presentation that made to the sector was about industrial tourism and the transformation of Bilbao and the Basque Country related to its industrial heritage.

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Politicians attending the event