You are editor in chief of a specialist publication. In your opinion, what is the role of the media in the promotion of tourism and the identification of new trends among consumers?
The media plays a key role in almost every aspect of the 21st century related to the way that society behaves. This is especially relevant at the present time, when the value of reliable, truthful information is so important in light of the uncertainty generated by the counter current, linked to so-called ‘fake news’.
Having said this, and more specifically within the sphere of boosting tourism and identifying new consumer trends, we should also underline its importance, since it is the media, through its various formats (audiovisual, digital and print publications), which can more widely and faithfully address the various issues related to this industry.
Information on new tourist destinations and the latest developments from established destinations are vital for strengthening tourism. Tourist numbers continue to grow across the globe, and destinations are fighting to gain their market share. Reaching potential visitors is essential for them, and the media plays a key role in their strategies.
The same is true with regard to new consumer trends. In the case of Hosteltur, and professional tourism information, being able to inform our readers of how and in what way their customers are changing is fundamental to us… and to them.
How do you assess the developments in tourism in recent years within Spain and the increasing role of this country at international level?
Spain has always been a major force in tourism, especially in terms of holiday resorts. In recent years, other segments - including urban, cultural, gastronomy, sports and MICE tourism - have also seen considerable growth and this is central to the goal of deseasonalisation outside the summer months.
The truth is that, beyond the artificially inflated figures resulting from the impact of the crisis in destinations affected by the Arab Spring, Spain as a tourist destination is stronger than ever. And this can be seen in the figures not only for visitors but for profitability, where Spain leads the world ranking.
At international level, we should underline the increasing involvement of Spanish companies - not just hotel chains and not just in the Caribbean. It is further proof of the degree of maturity and professionalism of Spanish companies, which are increasingly ready to set up wherever it makes good business sense.
How are digitalisation and new technologies affecting the tourism industry and new business models?
Digitalisation and new technologies are already embedded in all areas of human life in the 21st century. And leisure, in any of its facets, is one of the main activities affected by this real-time access to information, available all across the globe. Control over the product, social media, payment methods… absolutely everything in the industry is experiencing constant transformation and the key is to know how to adapt to it without losing your head. The costs arising from this continuous adaptation are also significant and it is essential not to lose track, as they impact directly on the financial statements.
New business models related to the leisure industry are emerging all the time in activities that seemed well-established and saturated. In the hospitality industry, for example, new models keep appearing that are able to squeeze out yet more in terms of room availability and new destinations. But it is in destination activities where the next revolution will happen, if it is not already happening.
Technologisation and sustainability are increasingly making inroads. What other trends have you identified among travellers?
The speed with which they adapt to new technology and then take it further, pushing companies to constantly adapt and creating new business opportunities, for both established companies and new entrepreneurs.
Also the speed of change between the discovery of a new destination and its mass consumption. This is the power of tourism and of tourists, able to generate wealth wherever they go, at the same time as they endanger the resources that make it possible. This is the paradox which I think is the challenge that lies ahead for tourism in the 21st century.