What made Visit USA decide to become directly involved in FITUR this year?
We think that the United States needs more promotion. We have a vast country where tourism is very important. We saw that participation by American companies was a little down and we decided that Visit USA should get the visibility it deserves. So, we decided to do it.
Why is FITUR so important for Visit USA?
We think that Visit USA is a mirror for tourism opportunities in the United States and FITUR is a window through which they can be seen. In addition, the Spanish market continues to grow, while other foreign markets are declining. In specific terms, this year tourism from Spain to the United States increased by 7%, which suggests that this is a very promising market. In recent years, it has grown phenomenally compared to the level to which it fell in 2003.
Have you reoriented your strategy with regard to the type of tourism visitors are seeking?
It will be very difficult to change, as tourists know what they want. They want to go to New York, the access point, and also to Miami, Orlando, San Francisco and Las Vegas. There’s also an increasing number of tourists visiting national parks and taking road trips. I’m on the road nearly all the time and I meet a lot of Spanish people enjoying road trips, especially on Route 66, and visiting all the sights.
What new tourist segments are flourishing in the United States?
One particular type of tourism which is on the rise is wine tourism. Many people are travelling to California to visit wineries. There are some major Spanish wineries, such as Freixenet, Codorníu and Torres, which have been established there for many years, producing excellent wines.
What will the Visit USA look like at FITUR 2020?
This stand is going to be totally different from all the others. Visit USA is a non-profit organisation, so we don’t have a great deal of resources, but we already have 23 exhibitors, and we think that the booth will be very eye-catching. It will have a western-style design in sustainable wood, decorated with lots of balloons emblazoned with the American flag. We hope that people will love it.