Spanish reap rewards of investment in major cities

Latest figures for the C&I market in Spain identify the reasons behind the destination's move to second place in the ICCA ranking of most popular conference destinations.

Meeting business in Spain's major cities was worth EUR2.3bn (£1.5bn) in 2002, up nearly 45% on 2001, according to estimates from the Spain Convention Bureau (SCB). This is a private sector body set up by 12 Spanish cities, including Barcelona, Madrid and Palma de Mallorca.

Such growth was partly due to a higher delegate daily spend of EUR333 (£223.70), up 15% on the previous year. The country held more than 17,000 events in 2002, of which conventions accounted for 3,745 - an increase of 21.5% on the previous year that is attributed to growth in international business.

The number of participants in meetings and congresses held in Spain also rose, by 20% and 53%, respectively.

Director of the Spanish Tourist Office in London Manuel Butler is in no doubt as to why the popularity of the country as a C&I destination has grown.

"The reason behind Spain's success is undoubtedly down to the continued investment ploughed into the sector, which offers UK delegates unparalleled choice, quality and value for money," he said.

"Over the last couple of years, the Spanish Association of Conference Centres (APCE) has invested more than EUR1.2bn (£804m) in the construction of new sites throughout the country," added Butler.

He also highlighted ease of access, good weather and golf as part of the destination's appeal to UK buyers.

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