- In the fourth promotional mission in the Asian country, the director of the Catalan Tourist Board, Xavier Espasa, Espasa also delivered the diplomas to the Chinese travel agents who have become "experts in Catalonia" by passing the fourth training course on the Catalan tourism destination.
- In 2014, 175,000 Chinese tourists visited Catalonia and this figure is expected to rise between 15% and 20% in 2015 and to exceed 200,000 tourists
The director of the Catalan Tourist Board (CTB), Xavier Espasas, travelled to China, specifically to Shanghai and Hong Kong to hold several high-level meetings to promote Catalonia among major Chinese tourist agents. This is the fourth promotional mission carried out by the director of the CTB in this country.
Within the program of interviews and meetings scheduled, Xavier Espasa, accompanied by
the director of the Tourism Promotion Centre of Catalonia in China, Li Antonio, met with the directors of the company Fosun Investment Group, specifically its subsidiary Fosun Tourism and Commercial Group, which recently acquired the entire Club Med, as well as 5% of Thomas Cook. Both companies, Fosun and Thomas Cook, are planning to create a major travel agency in China and the director of the CTB met with them to schedule Catalonia into the package tours sold in the Chinese market.
The director of the Catalan Tourism Board also met with the executives in China of the wine company Torres, partner of the CTB, to coordinate with them the promotion in the Asian country of 2016 as the Year of Wine Tourism and Gastronomy.
Finally, accompanied by representatives of the Shanghai office of the airline Emirates, Espasa visited two of the country's largest tour operators: Caissa Tour and Hua Yuan Tour.
Precisely 483 agents from these two companies, namely the cities of Beijing and Shanghai, have participated this year in the on-line tourism training course on Catalonia, which the Catalan Tourist Board has been teaching for four years among the leading tour operators and travel agents in China and whose partner is Emirates.
Since China is a highly intermediated market, the objective of this course is to introduce the Catalan tourist destination to the major Chinese tour operators so that they can then schedule Catalonia into the European circuits marketed in their travel agencies.
The agents who have passed this course, 93 in total, received from the hands of Xavier Espasa the diploma accrediting them as "Experts in Catalonia." In addition, half a dozen of the most outstanding students this year will participate at the end of the year in a familiarization trip to Catalonia, organized by the CTB so that they can know first-hand what they have learned during the course.
Catalonia was the first destination in Spain to launch a course of this kind in China, and its
success has been so great that this model of training consultants has been exported to other countries in Southeast Asia, such as India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Japan, among others.
China, an expanding market
China is currently the largest source market of tourists in the world, with more than 100 million Chinese each year traveling outside their country. Culture, luxury, shopping, and incentive trips are some of the most popular products among Chinese tourists.
The company had already doubled the length of free WiFi access to 30 minutes at all its airports in December indefinitely, also doubling connection speed and reducing the cost of the 'Premium' service to 1.50 euros per hour.
Aena will continue to offer the 'Premium' service for a surcharge to customers who request it, with higher speeds of access and additional services.
According to a report by Kubi Wireless – a company integrated in the Eurona Telecom Group and the current holder of the concession to operate internet access via WiFi in Aena airports – consumption in the Spanish airport network soared in 2014 reached a peak in the summer months, highlighting especially Madrid (+ 85%) and Barcelona (+ 68%). 'Premium' WiFi also grew 21% last year.
The technology firm points out that the cost of this service is the "most competitive" in Europe, as opposed to other comparable airports such as Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle, Berlin-Tegel, Brussels, Amsterdam and Lisbon.
Temporarily, all Spanish airports lowered their price from 4.5 euros to 1.5 euros, compared to rates of these airports ranging from 3.8 euros per hour at Heathrow or Dusseldorf to 6 euros per half an hour in Brussels or 5.9 euros for all Paris airports.
In this regard, it was reminded that there is the possibility of booking airport parking, hiring access to the VIP lounge, or finding information on any of the airport services.
Air France-KLM, British Airways and Iberia have 14 exclusive counters in this area to check-in the luggage of passengers arriving in the city on a cruise and then traveling by plane to other destinations. The airport has also enabled security checkpoints in the regional flights and air shuttle area to speed up access to the boarding area.
The operation aimed at cruise passengers also includes assistance for People with Reduced Mobility (PRM). In the Intermodal lobby there is a desk with staff to permanently meet the demands of users.
The PRM assistance service consists of accompanying passengers during the process of check-in and security checks to their seat on the plane. On arrival at the destination, they will be helped to disembark and collect their baggage to the extent agreed.
Statistical data in 2014
Last year, nearly 15,550 cruise passengers used the special check-in operation at Barcelona-El Prat Airport, with the months of June and August as the busiest, with 3,364 and 3,813 users, respectively.
In operation since 2008
The collaboration between port and airport began in 2008 when Delta offered a dock-side check-in service for cruise passengers arriving in Barcelona and then flying to the United States.
Already in 2010, with terminal T1 in operation, the check-in procedure for cruise passengers was extended by preparing the railway hall of the airport for users who were arriving by ship and then leaving by air.
-On Sunday a helicopter air shuttle will be established linking both airports with the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit.
Coinciding with the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix to be held this weekend at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit, the Airports of Barcelona-El Prat and Girona-Costa Brava will become the operational base for the transfer of celebrities, drivers and fans.
These days, both airports are planning to operate a total of 151 private flights, counting
arrivals and departures. However, due to the characteristics of this type of aviation in which operations are scheduled at short notice, this figure will be increased over the weekend.
Girona-Costa Brava Airport expects to record from today May 7th to May 11th, a total of 77 corporate aviation movements related to Formula 1 racing, 36 of which are arrivals and 32 departures. Thursday is the day of arrival with most operations at the airport, with a total of 16, and Sunday is the busiest day of departures with 22 take-offs. Most aircraft come from Italy and the UK.
Meanwhile, Barcelona-El Prat Airport expects to operate a total of 74 movements, 35 arrivals and 39 departures between tomorrow, Friday, May 8th, and Monday 11th. The private jets come mainly from European countries such as Austria, Germany, France and the UK.
The day with the largest volume of arrivals is Friday May 8th, with 22 operations of this type, while the largest number of departures will be recorded on Monday May 11th, with 19 flights.
Air Canada has decided to operate between its flight Barcelona and Toronto throughout the year. The other flight of the Montreal company between Barcelona and will continue to
operate during the summer months.
The airline Air Canada has confirmed that it will operate the Barcelona-Toronto flight throughout the year, so far it was available only in the summer months.
Thus, from 1 November this year, passengers will have an initial frequency of three flights
a week (Monday, Wednesday and Saturday) to the Canadian city. The airline will
operate these flights with Boeing 767.
As for the other flight the company offers from Barcelona-El Prat airport, in this case to
Montreal, it will continue to operate during the summer months.
Air Canada, founded in 1937, is the Canadian national airline, offering both scheduled and
charter flights to 175 destinations worldwide with a fleet of 200 aircraft, transporting around 35 million passengers a year.
The commitment of cruise lines consolidates the leadership in cruises of the Port of Barcelona in Europe and the Mediterranean. The Catalan port will this year receive 12 ships on their first visit, some new to the market.
The busiest day this year will be Sunday 13 September, when the Port of Barcelona will host four large cruise ships and 26,770 passengers are expected. Precisely that weekend, from 11 to 13 September, will bring together the greatest total volume of passengers, with more than 58,000 who will arrive or leave the city on 14 different ships.
This season there will be a maximum of 6 cruise ships on the same day. This is influenced by the greater capacity of the ships and the fact that the total number of stopovers is spread out somewhat more evenly throughout the season.
Barcelona, best turnaround port operations at the Cruise Shipping Miami trade fair
The Port of Barcelona has received awards this year in two categories from the prestigious
publication Cruise Insight (The global cruise market), in the framework of the Cruise Shipping Miami trade fair 2015. This year, the Catalan infrastructure has been recognized as ‘Best turnaround port operations’ and 'Best destination experience for independent passengers'. In order to choose the winners, Cruise Insight uses the opinion of top executives from world cruise companies, who through a survey determine the most outstanding ports, destinations and terminals in different modalities.
By passenger volume, Barcelona retains the fourth ranking as a cruise home port, preceded only by the three major ports in the State of Florida (Miami, Port Everglades, and Port Canaveral).
In addition, the awarding of the prize for 'Best destination experience for independent passengers', which refers to cruise passengers who choose to explore the destination without an organized tour, not only recognises the appeal of Barcelona and the proximity of the terminals the city centre, but also the development of information resources and infrastructure that the city offers to visitors. Owing to the efforts of the city’s tourism industry, both from the private sector and public administrations – City Council, Barcelona Tourism, Port, Airport, etc. – the Barcelona brand and image is consolidated.
Emirates are pleased to announce that Emirates will begin its second daily flight from Barcelona to Dubai on May 2, 2015.
The new service will be operated with a Boeing 777-200LR in a three-class configuration with a 266-seat capacity, thus complementing the company’s current successful daily A380 service. The new flight schedules are programmed to further facilitate connections to and from Barcelona to key cities in the Far East, Middle East, Australia and Africa via the hub of Emirates in Dubai.
Connections to Dubai from Barcelona will be as follows:
BCN DXB -EK 185 - 8.15h - 13.35h
BCN DXB - EK 186 - 15.50h-00.35h
BCN DXB - EK 187 - 15.45h - 21.00h
BCN DXB - EK 188 - 22.45h - 7.25h(+1)