Q&A – Alberto Lema, head of tourism, A Coruña

Q&A – Alberto Lema, head of tourism, A Coruña

How have UK visitor statistics compared this year with last?  

Alberto Lema

We are experiencing a relevant increase in numbers of UK visitors to A Coruña. International tourism is still a minority, which is also an interesting selling point for the city (situated in Galicia, northwest Spain).

During the first six months of 2017, the three local tourist offices provided information to 8.637 UK tourists, 53% more than the year before during the same period of time. Many of those visitors (63%) came through the popular cruise terminal, located right in the city centre.

 

Has the tourist office launched any new campaigns?

We have recently attended the a destination showcase in London and we have organized a working dinner at the Hispania Restaurant for a group of specialized tour-operators and journalists.

Our plans are to attend WTM and to keep on working with the travel trade on product development and commercialization. It is also our intention to strengthen the relationship with the Confraternity of St James, the main association of friends of the Camino de Santiago in the UK, since A Coruña is located in the English Way to Santiago.

 

What specifically is the tourist office aiming to highlight/promote to UK visitors? 

We promote A Coruña as a multi-experience destination with great urban beaches and a sea promenade (the longest urban promenade in Europe), our historical icon – The Tower of Hercules – as the only roman lighthouse still in use nowadays, our link with UK through historical characters like Sir John Moore, our Atlantic and innovative cuisine and our vibrating fashion, as we are the city of Zara´s headquarters. And, of course the English Way, A Coruña is the historical arrival port of pilgrimage for those pilgrims travelling from the British Isles and Northern Europe to Santiago since the middle ages.

 

What are the emerging trends from British visitors?

We have noticed an increase in the number of UK visitors in A Coruña coming from cruise ships and other tourist segments.

Tower of Hercules, Roman lighthouse, and Lapas beach, Coruña city, Galicia, Spain

 

What are the developments – hotels, tour operators, airlines, etc?

After our recent working session with tour operators in London, we hope to see new travel products being offered to the UK market before the end of the year. The city has got a great hotel infrastructure, with over 1500 bedrooms in 4 star properties. Regarding flight connections, we have a daily flight from A Coruña to London Heathrow (90-minute flight with Vueling). From Gatwick, Easyjet services the Santiago de Compostela airport, 40 minutes away from A Coruña.

 

What would be your advice to travel agents on selling the destination? 

I would remark precisely our connectivity with London with a direct flight; the idea of a friendly city with a human scale with a great cultural and leisure offer; our huge variety of restaurants combining traditional and innovative gastronomy, the shopping offer and the Atlantic sea culture – beaches, promenade, markets, fish market and water sports.

A Coruña is an ideal (and still undiscovered) destination for a city break. And for those clients looking for a low impact active holiday, they should offer them the possibility of walking the English Way (Camino Inglés) from A Coruña (75 km). Since the beginning of this year they will be able to obtain the “Compostela”, the certificate issued by the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela of having completed the pilgrimage in recognition of the historical significance of the city of A Coruña.

More info www.turismocoruna.com

Jill Sayles
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