Antonio M. Romero
Friday, 23 June 2023, 13:25
Lyra Puisyte-Bostroem was appointed Lithuanian ambassador to Spain in August 2020. The diplomat spoke to SUR about the recent launch of Air Baltic's new direct flight that connects Malaga with Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital.
What does it mean for your country to have a direct flight to Malaga?
We are very happy because it means new possibilities for tourism and for strengthening the various economic and cultural ties that we are working on between our countries, and also between Lithuania and Andalucía.
What are Lithuania's objectives with this initiative?
Spain is an important country for Lithuania. It is not only a reliable friend and ally of the European Union and NATO, but we also see it as an important trading partner, a priority export market and a significant tourist market. In the field of tourism and trade we have not yet experienced our mutual power. We have a great potential and Spanish tourists are very much loved and appreciated in Lithuania. Before the pandemic we registered more than 40,000 Spanish tourists, a figure we have not yet recovered. One of the challenges is to recover and surpass those numbers. With this flight we want Andalusians to get to know Lithuania better, a safe country to travel to, with a wide range of culture, history, nature, experiences and gastronomy. With this flight we want to increase tourist and commercial ties.
What are the current commercial relations between Malaga and Andalucía, and Lithuania? What investment options does your country offer?
At the moment we don't have the data by region. But in 2022 Lithuania's turnover in Spain grew by 24% and we know that Andalucía is a very important region. We are mainly looking for cooperation opportunities in high technologies, potential partners in the fields of life sciences, information and communication technologies, financial technologies and renewable energy technologies. We are also looking for export markets for our products. Andalucía is a great region and has a lot to offer.
At first glance, Lithuanian and Andalusian cultures are very different
In that sense, another of our main lines of work is to make two different, but very complementary cultures known. Lithuanians have always had a great interest in Spanish culture. Two years ago I went to the Festival de Cante de Las Minas and picked up an award for Lithuania in the promotion of flamenco because they teach flamenco singing at the Academy of Music in my country. We also have projects that bring together Lithuanian jazz and flamenco; we have a Lithuanian designer in Seville who designs flamenco costumes; we have opened two new honorary consulates in Malaga and Seville; we are working to increase our relations in various areas.
Is opening new routes or increasing routes on the horizon?
We hope so. It will depend a lot on the airlines. What we can do to help from the embassy is to give Lithuania more visibility and for Spaniards and Andalusians to travel there. Lithuania has an important economic growth and that means that now many Lithuanians can afford to travel and Andalucía is a favourite destination.
Do many Lithuanians live in Andalucía?
Yes, we estimate about 30,000 in Andalucía. During the pandemic and after the pandemic we have seen that Malaga has been one of the favourite destinations for Lithuanian digital nomads. We also see a significant increase in interest in buying to spend the winter in Malaga. In terms of tourism, as we are not competitors in tourist destinations, we are rather complementary. Now, for example, Lithuanians come more in winter or spring and I think Lithuania would be a good destination for Andalusians in summer.
Why should Andalusians travel to your country or do business in Lithuania?
Firstly, because we are a safe country. And secondly, because we can offer a lot in tourism and we have a great potential for economic cooperation.
Te puede interesar