Malaga city’s stand at the World Travel Market was easy to spot, with its Picasso decoration and the Davis Cup trophy taking centre stage on the first day of this important tourism fair in London. The mayor, Francisco de la Torre, said the WTM is essential for the city because most tourists in its five-star hotels are from the UK and that is the quality market the council is keen to attract.
When asked by journalists about attracting visitors from long-haul destinations, he confirmed that efforts are being made to organise flights between Malaga and Miami with American Airlines, which would make sense because it would link in with the cruise tourism which is of growing importance for Malaga. “We can’t say much now because it is early days. We’ll see,” he said.
It was a hectic first day of the WTM on the Malaga city stand, with a visit from the Secretary of State for Tourism, Fernando Valdés, and the director of Turespaña, Miguel Sanz, and meetings between the mayor with a number of experts including Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of Halal Travel and Crescent Travel, a world authority on Halal tourism, the Chinese travel agent Asia Link, The Telegraph-National Geographic Traveler magazine and the executive vice-president of Exceltur, José Luis Zoreda.
Summing up the day, the director of the Spanish Tourism Office in London, Manuel Butler, indicated that it had been very positive. “Malaga and the Costa del Sol are well positioned in the United Kingdom," he said.