Guest post by Bobby Castro
According to recent reports, Spain has declared a thirty five percent growth in tourist arrivals since 2010. This is the fruit of the coordinated efforts of the Spanish Department of Tourism and its work with the Bollywood film industry.
This new avenue to entice tourists was made possible with the association of the tourism department with the hit film “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara”. This Bollywood hit featured the festivals, locations, beaches and the cultural similarities between Spain and India.
According to the Deputy Minister of Tourism of Spain, Joan Mesquida Ferrando, “The exchange of culture and art between Spain and India is not new. There are similarities between the cultures, festivals, art, food and also the way of life.” The remarks were made during the minister’s latest visit to Mumbai.
India is seen as a great market with great potential for tourism business. This was pointed out by Arturo Ortiz, Director for Promotional Activities of Spain in India in saying, “When I look at India, I see a great opportunity to offer my country Spain a world-class, year round destination to Indians.”
The latest statistics belie the truth. Over 70,000 Indians entered Spain in 2010 while for the first half of 2011, the volume grew by 35 percent, with about 54,000 Indian arriving in the country. Many of these tourists are called MICE tourists, meaning meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibition. Many come in groups, accounting for about twenty percent of total arrivals from India.
There are many other incentives for Corporate India to bite into while in Spain. These include eighteen percent deduction in costs for films or serials taxes, classification as economic interest groups, subsidies from Spanish government functionaries and agencies as well as local government incentives.
For individual Indian travelers, Spain also provides many other delights, aside from the tours, accommodations and cuisine. It is also cheaper to visit Spain than other European Union neighboring countries.
According to Spain Tourism India Director Miguel Nieto Sandoval, “I can assure you that Indians will not feel like foreigners in Spain. Indian culture has affinity with our culture. They will also feel at home because of the Spanish weather, the delectable local cuisine and availability of Indian meals. Even if Spanish people are not that conversant in English, still they will go out of their way to explain everything to them about our culture, way of life and tourism related information.”
Bobby Castro is the online editor at the NRI community, where he has published a number of articles about NRI Indians living in Spain and many other topics.