Five minutes with... Juan Manuel, Marketing Head, Andalucía Tourist Board
Now Reading
Five minutes with… Juan Manuel, Marketing Head, Andalucía Tourist Board

Five minutes with… Juan Manuel, Marketing Head, Andalucía Tourist Board

Andalucía is looking to attract Arab tourists to its shores, says Juan Manuel Ortiz Pascual.


Are you targeting the Middle East as a source hub for tourism?

We realise the Middle East is a niche market with huge potential for us as we see the Andalusian world very similar and close to that of the Arab world in terms of its history, legacy, culture and tradition. This makes it easier for us to sell Andalucía to the Middle East. Also many Arabs are aware of the destination, for example when I was in Dubai I bought the book “My Vision” written by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. In the first 20 pages of the book, Andalucía has been mentioned three times. Everyone raised in an Islamic culture is aware of the destination, which makes it easy for us to sell the destination.

What strategies do you have in place in order to tap Middle Eastern market?

With the collaboration of Turkish Airline and the Andalusian tourist companies, hotels and resorts we plan to showcase Andalucía to the Middle East. We plan to make sales missions every three months. Tourism is a very personal market and we need to engage with the agencies here. The culture here is one of trust and we are going to build on establishing a personal rapport with our clients. We plan to bring a bunch of companies including hotels and tour operators interested in promoting Andalucía. We plan to hold presentations, engage with the press, travel agents, and tourist companies and work on tailor-made packages that are Arab-friendly.

For instance this June we made our first sales mission to the Middle East and we brought nine very important companies including hotels and travel houses from Malaga. We had workshops set up where our companies were able to establish links with the Middle Eastern travel agents and our hotels and tourist companies have understood the needs of the Arab travellers and this information has helped in drafting unique packages taking into account requirements such as halal food, prayer facilities and family dining enclosures.

What challenges do you foresee in promoting Andalucía?

We want to make Andalucía a very typical and traditional place for the Arabs to come. We want the Arabs to make it their first choice when it comes to choosing their holiday destination. We are aware that there’s a lot of work to be done in terms of striving to make every single restaurant and hotel in Andalucía capable of handling the food requirement when it comes to offering halal food. Soon we are having the first halal tourism conference in Granada. It is going to inform people of the Islamic culture and get hotels and restaurants to have praying rooms, halal food and designated dining areas for men and women.

What are the targets you aim to achieve?

From Saudi Arabia last year we had 40,000 people visit Andalucía. Overall, we have around 100,000 Arab tourists visiting Andalucía and we expect this figure to double in 2015. With the help of Turkish Airlines that have increased flights from seven to 10 a week from Istanbul to Malaga during the summer, and we hope this will bring more Arab tourists.

With Dubai hosting 2020, do you intend to capitalise on the event to promote your business?

We are sure to have a pavilion in Dubai to showcase the wonders we have. And with selling the destination, we intend to be very focused on the Arab market and portray Andalucía in a way that will appeal to them to make it their second home.

What’s your leadership style?

I like to stand in the second row. I don’t want to lead the team but want to belong to it. I don’t want people crediting me for the success. As team leader I see the achievement as a team effort.

Define success in five words

It’s difficult but I’ll try, so first would be happiness. There’s no success without happiness and joy. And even love, love for your work, love for your workers and also social acceptance and commitment.

Your favourite pastime?

I’d like to be a sailor. I also like mountain biking, reading, and love spending time with my dog.


Scroll To Top