THE BOTTOM LINE
Trade fairs were never the best place for self-criticism and so each year the Fitur tourism fair in Madrid generates a splendid explosion of good spirits: "a fix", as one mayor from Malaga province described it. The event has returned in 2021 after one empty, terrifying year for an industry that is currently riding on the hope that things will go back as they were before.
There's no doubt that this is not the time to debate whether things before really were so good or bad, or whether they can be improved with the experience we have today, especially not there, at a fair devoted to such a big industry that provides work for so many, and that now just needs enthusiasm and the hope of recovery.
Andalucía announced that we could expect nine million tourists this summer and there would be 20 million all year. In 2019, 30 million tourists came to this region. The stand at Fitur has been surrounded by an antiseptic shield to protect it from pandemics, humanitarian crises or anything connected with migration or bad vibes.
Torrox went to the fair this year with the slogan 'Un brindis al sol' (A toast to the sun); it's so good that you only have to see it to want to travel to that beautiful town where we'll be served a glass of wine and we can forget our worries.
There's a great deal of creativity going on at Fitur. In recent years, the fair has shaken off the image of being a frivolous macro-event that attracts thousands of councillors who go there to unveil projects, and members of the general public searching for freebies, items offered by brands and institutions hoping in vain that they might be picked up by future visitors or customers.
Now the event has little in common with that puerile experience. The fair has gained, thanks to advanced technology and investment, a high grade of sophistication. Fitur is a great business centre located inside a theme park where there is no room for sorrow.
A stroll around the fair is like diving into a world of emotions and orbiting over it, living life as if it were a dissolute experience or imagining yourself in a thousand different places, but always on holiday, with the self-assurance of a rich man who lives all year round in different countries in search of fine weather, treating himself to the luxury of spending 365 days a year in linen shirt sleeves.
I wonder if you can do that in Torrox, which has the best climate in Europe. It would be good to go there to raise a glass and feel that nothing else mattered at all.