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Saturday,  July 13, 2024 8:29 AM 

Barcelona looks to inspire Canadians

  • Air
  •   05-08-2015  11:55 am

Barcelona looks to inspire Canadians

Armed with tablets, pamphlets and promotional videos, representatives of hotels, railways, airlines and wineries showcased their products to enthusiastic travel professionals for Barcelona Inspires, a workshop presentation from Barcelona Turisme and Air Transat. 

The workshops, structured to be six minute pitches that rotated at the chime of a bell, delivered a wealth of information covering the different facets of travel to Barcelona in a short amount of time, and was a flurry of eager questions, anecdotes and business cards.

The event was held in anticipation of the coming summer, a time that Josep Anton, market development director for Barcelona Turisme, explained brings a lot of Canadians to the city.

“Due to the direct flights offered from Montreal and Toronto to Barcelona,” he told PAX, “we receive a lot of Canadians throughout the summer season looking for tours and packages for the city and surrounding regions, as well as stopping by on their way to enjoy a cruise.”

Barcelona, a diverse, innovative city and the world embarkation point for Mediterranean cruises (it hosted 2.5 million cruise passengers in 2014), needs no introduction. The 2,000-year-old destination is renowned for its architecture, art scene, and culinary flavours.

Also in attendance was Cristina Gargallo, North America director for Catalan Tourist Board, who told PAX she was there to provide an overview of what Catalonia, a small territory just outside the city of Barcelona, has to offer Canadian travellers. 

“Barcelona is the capital city of Catalonia so we want agents to know the possibilities that their clients have once they arrive in Barcelona,” she explained “There are so many places in Catalonia, and so much history, and it’s only an hour from the city.”

Catalonia, which saw 116,900 Canadian visitors in 2014, is home to the famous The Dalí Theatre and Museum, and boasts a broad collection of vineyards and gastronomic restaurants.

“People come to Catalonia when they fly to Barcelona,” Gargallo told the guests during her presentation, “because they know they are going to eat well.”

Anton took the stage after Gargallo, taking a moment to outline many attractions to be found in Barcelona, and provided insider tips on how to make the most the city when arranging a client trip, such as speaking directly to the representatives who had pitched earlier in the evening when booking, in order to get a better rate - as well as commissions.

Denisa Stancikova, business development representative for Transat, gave a summary of the flights and packages currently on offer for the coming season, including flights from Toronto to Barcelona on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The presentations were followed by a draw for a trip to Barcelona, courtesy of Air Transat, and a dinner of Spanish-inspired cuisine rounded out the evening, allowing the travel agents who had come out looking for new ideas and did not leave disappointed, time to digest.

PHOTO: Josep Anton, market development director, Barcelona Turisme; Cristina Gargallo, North America director, Catalan Tourist Board & Laura Pena, director, Embassy of Spain in Canada