Just in time for the upcoming summer season, the Spanish Tourism Board (STB) and the Spanish Embassy are gearing up to entice Filipino travelers to consider their products, services and destinations in making holiday plans.
On February 7, STB presented 2014’s most important events and must-see places in the historic European country over a dinner reception at The Peninsula Manila in Makati City.
“For Filipinos, discovering Spain is like discovering their own history,” said Jorge Domecq, the Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines.
A Spanish colony for hundreds of years, STB highlighted a collection of impressive churches, which devout Filipino Catholics can visit come Holy Week, including the iconic Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and the Santiago de Compostela among many others.
“Spain is known to cater to millions of religious groups and travelers each year, and it is considered a jaw-dropping experience for visitors who explore the different churches in the country,” said Vien Cortes, the market analyst of STB who presented 2014’s Spanish product update.
Besides churches, religious travelers may also find the El Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) a point of interest, an annual pilgrimage that leads to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great, which takes place this year on July 25.
More than being a religious destination, travelers will surely enjoy Spain’s gastronomical delights, including familiar dishes as paella, churros con chocolate, tapas, and hamon, but of course in the most authentic of ways. Remember, some of the world’s most renowned chefs hail from Spain, among them Ferran Adria, who currently holds the title as “best chef in the world;” as well as the Roca brothers who are behind El Celler de Can Roca, awarded as one of the “best restaurants in the world.”
To further appreciate Spain’s rich flavors, STB invited Filipino chef Myrna Segismundo to feature the cuisine on her Lifestyle Network program, Fork on the Road. Showing this February on the cable channel, the series features the country’s best kitchens, cellars, farms and wineries.
As for major events, Spain will host the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Basketball Championships from August 30 to September 14, where the Philippine National Team Gilas is slated to compete.
“Besides all these, there are 13 places in Spain that are considered as World heritage Sites by the Unesco,” added Cortes.
But for Ambassador Domecq, it is still and essentially the rich history of Spain and the Philippines that attracts both its people to either countries.
“Thankfully, Spain appears to be a favorite destination of Filipinos, with over 50,000 visitors recorded in 2013. And we wish to encourage more visitors in the coming years,” he concluded.