The tourism sector has stoically endured the pandemic, taking responsibility for the greater weight of the restrictions. This same sector, one of the hardest hit by the health crisis, is also aware that the economic reactivation, especially at the gates of the summer campaign, depends to a large extent on its strength coming out. And at this point, Cartagena seems to have an advantage, since institutions and companies have worked for a long time to establish themselves as a safe and quality destination. This was reflected in the ‘Welcome Cartagena’ forum held yesterday at the El Batel Terrace, organized by the auditorium and conference center itself and the newspaper LA VERDAD, with the sponsorship of CaixaBank. A blended meeting, attended by significant business representatives of the sector, and broadcast on streaming.
Juan Francisco Martínez Carrasco, general director of Tourism of the Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia, was in charge of opening the event and making a profile around Cartagena, which he defined as “the tourist capital of the Region of Murcia” . After taking a tour of the benefits that the municipality has at the tourist level, he stressed the importance of the Covid insurance that the regional government will launch from July 1 and that will cover health, transport and accommodation expenses for tourists national and international in case of contracting the virus.
Martínez Carrasco closed his speech by reviewing the role they will play in the reactivation of the infrastructure sector such as Corvera airport – it will reach 45 weekly frequencies in summer – and the Port of Cartagena.
- Juan Francisco Martínez. Directorate General of Tourism
“Covid insurance will allow tourists who visit us to enjoy a safe and quality vacation”
- Ana Pardo Sánchez. Manager of El Batel
“Recovery is being slowed down by capacity restrictions, which should be reviewed, and mobility restrictions”
- Juan Carlos Garcia. Ródenas Director Hotel Alfonso XIII
“The great challenge is to recover foreign tourism as soon as possible, which will be residual this year, and trust the national market”
- Fernando Muñoz. Port Authority Business Development
“The interaction of cruise passengers with local commerce will be greater as restrictions are lifted”
- Cristina Pérez. Councilor for Tourism and Business
“We have focused the promotion campaign on the domestic market, because abroad will take time to arrive”
Ana Pardo Sánchez, manager of the El Batel Auditorium and Conference Center, was in charge of opening the round table ‘Examples of safe tourism in the city of Cartagena’. “When the pandemic broke out, we focused on convincing customers not to cancel any event, looking for new dates,” explained the head of El Batel, adding that “secondly, and in record time, we were able to implement all the safety, hygienic and sanitary measures to guarantee a security space where events could be organized ”.
All this effort has resulted in obtaining the ‘Safe Tourism Certified’ seal granted by the Spanish Institute of Tourism Quality, a guarantee of safety and quality that customers value very positively and speak very much in favor of the management at El Batel. The auditorium manager also highlighted the importance of congress tourism for the city. And he provided a revealing data: “The average expenditure of this tourist profile is 299 euros per day, which is an important contribution to the local economy.”
The next to take the floor was Juan Carlos García Ródenas, director of the Hotel Alfonso XIII and president of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation of Murcia, who highlighted the effort of his sector to adapt to the circumstances and offer quality and safety stays to Your clients.
He was critical of the strategy used to tackle the pandemic for especially punishing his sector. “It is a mistake that the only solution to stop the pandemic is to lock ourselves in with the technological advances that we have.” He announced, in this sense, that the Hotel Alfonso XIII hosts a project led by the UPCT and financed with European funds that allows, through artificial intelligence, to monitor in real time a risk situation due to Covid or another threat to optimally manage it at the time to establish protocols.
And he broke a spear in favor of the commercial activity generated by the Port Authority. “It has allowed us to weather the situation much better than other establishments in our environment,” he said.
Fernando Muñoz Bozzo, head of the Business Development department of the Cartagena Port Authority, announced that cruise activity in the city will resume on June 19. He recalled that this specific sector stopped short and for its reactivation numerous safety and health measures are being implemented, both by the shipping companies and the port itself. He highlighted the initiative of the ‘bubble cruises’ to guarantee that passengers do not have contact with the local population, although in the case of cruises that call in Cartagena, he said that the way in which the visit can generate benefits in the hospitality industry is being studied. and local businesses with a security badge, for example under the criterion of closing that establishment for the exclusive enjoyment of cruise passengers.
He assured that this year about 60 cruise ships will end up in Cartagena; in 2022 the same stopovers will be produced that were foreseen for 2020, although with a smaller passage; and in 2023 normality will resume.
The round table was closed by Cristina Pérez Carrasco, Councilor for Tourism and Business of the Cartagena City Council, who highlighted the strengths of tourism in the city and the importance of a distinctive such as safe tourism. “The reactivation generates opportunities and the great diversity of Cartagena’s tourist offer is an advantage,” he said.
A Strategic Plan for Tourism
The deputy mayor Noelia Arroyo came to summarize at the closing of this forum the importance of everything built in recent decades around the enhancement of archaeological heritage or the revitalization of the old town.
He spoke of the new Strategic Plan for Tourism in Cartagena with the aim of taking advantage of the opportunities generated by the reactivation, with the challenge of listening to businessmen and representatives of the sector, bringing together ideas, studying them, projecting them and that the city gains space as a tourist destination of reference.
«The public has been segmented before the change in consumption habits and there is a need to adapt the tourist offer so that it is diversified and capable of attracting the attention of this new profile, maintaining the quality of our cultural, natural, sports tourism, of cruises or congresses “, assured Noelia Arroyo, who recalled that” a year has been lost in tourism, but not in management. “