february, 27th 2007
High level of participation at the meeting of the region's meetings tourism professionals.
Over 120 meetings tourism professionals from the Baix Llobregat met last Thursday at the Hotel AC Gavà Mar to share ideas and thoughts that help to promote this area of tourism. The event, organised by the Baix Llobregat Tourist Board, was a great success in terms of participation and attendance, and showed the clear desire for teamwork and co-ordination in order to boost meetings tourism in the region, taking advantage of its potential for growth and making it increasingly competitive.
The day, which was formally opened by the Mayor of Gavà and the President of the Tourist Board, was structured in two parts. During the first, those attending were able to listen to the talks given by experts in the field. The first speaker was Antonio Bela – President of the Consultor de Estrategia y Gestión Group and a specialist in strategic marketing, who focused his talk on the strategic tools for meetings tourism in the Baix Llobregat region. Next, Eric Mottard, partner and director of the Eventoplus Group, Spain's leading meetings organisation portal, and the one with the highest traffic in the world, explained the current outlook for the business tourism market. Eugènia Garcia - manager of the Baix Llobregat Tourist Board - reviewed the projects linked to meetings tourism in the Baix Llobregat and surrounding area.
A workshop for sharing ideas
The second part of the day, and the most active and important, took place after the speeches, and consisted of the organisation of a workshop to share opinions, ideas and proposals for improving the region's tourism sector. To that end, the professionals were grouped according to the areas in which they all work. As a result, five tables were organised – Fairs, convention centers and other public places, Unique places, Conference service and Leisure time, Gastronomy and Hotels. Each table was led by a professional from the sector under discussion who acted as a moderator of the group.
The working session was 60 minutes long, and those participating had to answer two very specific questions - first, they had to identify the region's competitive advantages for attracting meetings tourism; and second, they had to decide what in their opinion was the best way to promote the Baix Llobregat as a destination for business meetings from the point of view of each sector.
Finally, all the those participating in the various groups came back together to listen to the conclusions of each of the other groups, in order to find out the outlook for each sector and to establish links between the ideas of the various working groups.
The conclusions reached by the various sectors, in terms of both the region's competitive advantages and the promotion initiatives, were specific to each particular group as well as coinciding in issues of a more general nature. Most of the sectors thought that among the region's main competitive advantages were its proximity to the city of Barcelona, and its transport network (including the port and airport).
The significant diversity of the territory was also highlighted - its peace and quiet and quality of life, the coast and beaches, its unique areas, the variety of its services and its gastronomic diversity among other factors - a range which was felt to be a perfect complement which Barcelona does not have.
The promotion initiatives proposed by the professionals were very varied, but they agreed on the need to create an identity, a distinctive brand and to be committed to it. The need to create new products, different from those offered by other areas, was also mentioned, as well the production and marketing of packages, in the form of either itineraries, sampling experiences or other alternatives.
Another idea that was considered very important was undertaking promotion work for the main clients in this sector, both in the region itself (raising the profile of the Baix Llobregat product in the companies in the area) and those outside it, especially those in the city of Barcelona and the other groups that hold conventions, shows and congresses.
The professional sectors also highlighted the need for a means of information for finding out news about the region, and being aware of the opening of new venues, new projects under way, figures related to the sector, etc. The production of a newsletter including all this information was thought to be very beneficial in this respect. Another of the proposals made was the creation of a specific reservations website, which would also show the entire range of meetings in the area.
Finally, one of the conclusions which was particularly emphasised was the importance of continuing to encourage the existing links and co-operation between the public and private sectors, with the role of the Tourist Board of particular importance in structuring the range on offer in the region.
A dynamic division
To round off the day, all those attending were once again grouped by sectors and went to the Accura restaurant, where they became cooks, and had to prepare a paella as a symbol of teamwork as the ideal way to obtain collective results.
Baix Llobregat, 27 February 2007