A negative coronavirus antigen test is required before entering the H&T hospitality trade fair in Malaga one of the first face-to-face exhibitions in Spain since the outbreak of the world's coronavirus pandemic crisis.
Some 130 companies are taking part in the hospitality fair and the focus is very much on the recovery of the sector with innovative ideas and technology on show.
And there was a confidence at the fair’s opening day that it is the first step on the road towards a new era.
The president of Tourism Costa del Sol, Francisco Salado, was excited at the opening of the fair, believing that the ‘new normal’ is looming. "We are giving a boost to the confidence that is so important in the world of tourism," he said, adding, "The feelings are good. The vaccination rate is improving and we are committed to a digital marketing strategy because we have to analyse which markets are moving and what travellers need.”
Salado added the data shows that there are more than 2.3 million seats available to fly to the Costa del Sol in May and June, although he said that the key to the season is for the United Kingdom to consider Spain a safe destination. "We are very excited about what can happen this summer and convinced that in 2022 we will have very important growth".
Along similar lines, the vice-president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juan Marín, pointed out that “Andalucía is top of the searches for people to spend their holidays. And one in four reservations for Spain are in destinations in Andalucía. With the data forecasts we are looking at, expectations are growing and we hope to exceed 20 million tourists in one year with practically only one active season. 2022 may see the return to 2019 levels", he said.
“There is a feeling of hope and that we are at the end of the tunnel,” Marín added.
The mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, stressed, “We must tell the world that Spain is once again ready to receive them. The feeling of being in a good restaurant with good food and good company is not forgotten.”
Some 120 industry experts will participate in the H&T forums, round tables and presentations scheduled until Wednesday.
The president of the fair’s organising committee, Manuel Villafaina, said, “This is the first step towards recovery and a great opportunity to improve competitiveness.”