It's autumn already, and after one of the most magnificent summers for Spain, Andalucía and Malaga in history as far as tourism is concerned, the industry is already thinking about next year. Tourism doesn't just happen without a push; promotional campaigns have to be planned well in advance, thinking about results in the mid to long term.
So as the industry prepares for 2018, international tourism fairs are of great importance and many firms and institutions are currently finalising details for the World Travel Market in London, to be held this year between 6 and 8 November, at a very significant moment due to Britain's Brexit situation.
The thing is when it comes to organising their agenda for the London event, numerous professionals have asked the same question:
“What's going on in Spain?”
It's interesting that they ask this in a place where Scotland's independence was considered and ruled out at the stroke of a pen, but it's also true that the news that reaches them from Spain is somewhat scary. Note I say “from Spain” because there people have little idea of the distance between Torremolinos and Salou, for example, just as very few Spaniards will know how far it is from Bray on Thames to London, or from Manchester to Newcastle... Or, if we go to Germany, between Berlin and Hamburg...
It's the same for the majority of tourists who visit us. “What's going on in Spain?” “Are there a lot of disturbances?” “Is something going to happen?” And to make matters worse, along comes Guardiola, who everyone knows as Pep, and says in press conferences that the problem with Spain (note, Spain) is none other than there is no democracy; that here, more or less, they are suffocating the Catalonia led by the pro-independence politicians Puigdemont, Junqueras and Rufián, the great leaders of social triumphs.
The image we are sending out to the world is deplorable, and, I repeat, people abroad don't differentiate between regions or cities; there they simply know us as “Spain”.
It was the same with the terror attack in Las Ramblas; the majority of the British press talked of a “terror attack in Spain”, or perhaps “in Barcelona”, but not “in Catalonia”.
Because for someone from France, Britain or Germany, Catalonia is Spain, and the message they are receiving is that we are at a terrible moment of instability and insecurity, in other words, the worst scenario for tourism. The problem is that this won't just damage tourism in Catalonia, but in the whole of Spain.
But don't worry, that's a danger Puigdemont, Rufián and Guardiola couldn't care less about.