Travel Agent Appreciation

Spotlight on Spain


Spain’s tourist trade is banking on some weighty allies to help it attract more Canadians to the Iberian country, citing a United Nations body that’s found no shortage of Spanish sites it says are worthy of international recognition and this country’s largest airline.

Laura Pena Alberdi, Spain’s Toronto-based consul in charge of tourism affairs, told a Thursday Toronto gathering only two countries have more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than her homeland.

“There are cities where you can find monuments that are unique in the world, like the mosque in Cordoba,” she said.

Ana Chacon of Spanish World Heritage Cities Group in turn told the audience that her group represents 15 cities throughout Spain, including Segovia, home to churches and palaces, and where visitors can be “transported back in time”; and Cordoba, which is “one of the oldest cities in Europe” and which has Roman, Moorish and other influences.

Chacon said the cities also provides venues to learn Spanish and “enjoy the Spanish lifestyle,” with Salamanca, for instance, having many Spanish language schools that are “surrounded by an exceptional” city.

Chacon also praised Cuenca as a “great place to learn Spanish” and added it has many different styles of architecture within its boundaries.

Javier Fernandez of Connect Worldwide Canada, which represents Paradores Hotels & Restaurantes 1928, said that organization has 95 lodging choices throughout Spain and another in Portugal, and a “stay in a parador is a ticket to a world of unique experiences.”

Some paradores once served as castles or monasteries and visitors may find themselves in “rooms where kings and queens slept,” Fernandez continued. Others are in modern, urban areas and two have golf courses.

Paradores are divided into ones with three- , four- and five-star ratings.

Those who opt to stay in one of the long-standing structures can “enjoy the feeling of travelling through time… You can come to paradores 95 times and we will provide you with 95 experiences,” Fernandez said.

Tony Celio of Air Canada told the gathering that Spain is a “vital part” of Air Canada’s international strategy. “We offer seasonal daily flights to Madrid from Toronto until approximately the end of September, with a reduced schedule extended until the beginning of January. And until the end of October, we’re operating the route using our new, state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a truly remarkable aircraft offering customers a choice of Economy Class, Premium Economy and our award-winning International Business Class with lie-flatbeds.

“Our presence to Spain is further enhanced with seasonal service to Barcelona from both Toronto until the beginning of January, and Montreal until the end of October. Both services are operated by Air Canada rouge B767 aircraft with 282 seats and three customer comfort options, Premium Rouge, Rouge Plus and Rouge.”

Pictured are Pena Alberdi, Chacon, Cynthia Farrill of Air Canada and Fernandez.



Posted in Airlines, Destinations