The “Patronal Municipal” of Tourism (PMTT) has got a brand new blog, Tarragona Experience; a new space on the net willing to improve communication and information towards our costumers, introducing them to the vital experiences –most of them unknown– they are able to enjoy at our tourist destination. The new logbook is expecting, at the same time, to set up a new opinion spot, which allows tourism discussions: where the sector is moving toward, what new products are being launched, what kind of success models there are, what support tools the sector is standing on, etc. Today then, in order to use it for the first time, I am going to talk about tourism and Tarragona, while reviewing the year we have just left behind.
2012, despite global recession, has been quite successful, even when compared with the best years’ occupancy rate. It can also be considered as excellent when observing tourism’s evolution, and we set it against other economic sectors: when it may seem everything is about to sink, tourism grows and improves.
There are several factors, which certainly may have helped us, such as different sorts of conflicts and struggles all across the Mediterranean, but there is an obvious evidence: the tourist potential of Tarragona is really important. It may seem that, gradually, changes on management, methodology, and communication in relation to our city are starting to yield results. A new rethink on the way we define ourselves as a living, Mediterranean city, with a multitude of attractive offers for the whole season, is adding to the inner interest of visiting our historical legacy, declared as World Heritage by the UNESCO. Despite this, it’s also important to highlight a new approach and orientation towards the strategy on the search of closer markets, such as the Catalan, or even Valencia, Zaragoza, Navarra or Madrid, also well-connected and fairly close cities to Tarragona. Also, France (especially its south population), Germany or Ireland, which due to different factors are still relatively close and attractive to us; all this together has led onto an improvement over the Tarragona brand reputation as a tourist destination.
At the moment, we are welcoming an important number of professional visitors; here I’m referring to national and international journalists and programmers, who are definitely helping us on gaining position on such an intriguing market as the States. The article about Tarragona, published by The New York Times in 2012, has had an impressive impact as well. Moreover, a growing interest is being perceived from countries such as Japan, Switzerland, Brazil or especially Russia, among others.
When it comes to the tourist sector nowcasting, despite the current difficulties, I believe we should be fairly optimistic. We have been given great news, such as being confirmed as the 2017 Mediterranean Games venue. In 2010, castells (human towers) and Mediterranean cuisine –two of our main appeals– were awarded, also by the UNESCO, the World Heritage label; and also public administration and private sector are improving their relationship when working together on future projects.
Tàrraco, back to Roman times, was a beloved city thanks to its climate, light, landscape, peace… Looking ahead, some say Tarragona will either be tourist or nothing at all. I am not so dramatic, but what I know for sure is that Tarragona is going to be much better with tourism rather than without.
*Translated by Artur Santos