The need to focus on a new model for tourism after the pandemic was the main theme of the dinner organised by Diario SUR and SUR in English at the Ironmongers’ Hall in London on Monday evening, as part of the World Travel Market. This event takes place every year as a tribute to the tourism sector in Malaga and Andalucía and to highlight the potential of the industry and its main objectives.
Nearly 200 people attended the dinner, including the Secretary of State for Tourism, Fernando Valdés; the Andalusian Minister for Tourism, Arturo Bernal; the mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre; president of the Malaga provincial authority and Costa del Sol Tourism Board, Francisco Salado; director of the Spanish Tourism Office in London, Manuel Butler; Unicaja Banco executives Fernando Ríos and Pablo González; vice-president of Exceltur, José Luís Zoreda; the editor-in-chief of SUR, Manolo Castillo, who also acted as Master of Ceremonies for the evening, and the general director of Prensa Malagueña, Antonio González.
Also present were personalities from the world of tourism on the Costa del Sol and in the UK, such as the president and vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce in London, Eduardo Barrachina and Javier Fernández; the mayors of Marbella, Nerja, Mijas, Torrox and Benalmádena, the president of the Tourism Business Council, José Carlos Escribano; president of the Aehcos association, José Luque, and the former vice-president of the cities committee of the World Tourism Organisation, Ramón de Isequilla, among others.
After welcoming all the guests, Manolo Castillo took the opportunity to thank Unicaja Banco for its support for SUR’s annual promotion in London, especially at a time which is “very difficult for everyone”.
Mayor of Mijas
Mayor of Benalmádena
Francisco Salado called for everyone involved in tourism to continue working together, due to its importance for Malaga province and Andalucía, and said the pandemic has caused a change in society: “Tourism and holidays are no longer way down the list of people’s priorities; quite the contrary. People want to travel and to enjoy themselves now,” he said.
Francisco de la Torre, the mayor of Malaga, sent a “strong message” about the city’s tourism strategy, saying it is going to seek quality, not quantity, and that the city needs more 5-star hotels. “All the ones we have are full. This is a very good time for Malaga and we want excellence above everything else”, he insisted.
President of Aehcos
President of Mahos
Arturo Bernal had words of thanks for SUR, saying it plays an important role in providing information about tourism, as it has been doing since 1963, and he also praised all those in the tourism sector for their hard work. “We have to carry on in the same way; collaboration is essential, these are tumultuous times and we have to be alert and double our efforts,” he said.
Mayor of Torrox
Finally, after the traditional family photo had been taken, Fernando Valdés also praised SUR and expressed his thanks for the evening. “This dinner has now become a tradition in tourism not only in Malaga and Andalucía but also Spain,” he pointed out.
josé alberto armijo
Mayor of Nerja
Mayor of Marbella
He also praised the work done by the director of the Spanish Tourism Office in London, Manuel Butler, and ended by asking everyone to make an effort so that Spain is “increasingly a more sustainable destination, because that is what tourists are looking for nowadays, especially those from Britain”. The minister also referred to Malaga’s bid to host the Expo 2027, and reassured the mayor and the city that they have full support from the government of Spain.