Thermal and gastro tourism in Spain

General situation of therma and gastro tourism in Spain

According to the 2017 report of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Spain was the second country in the world in number of foreign tourists, with 81.9 million.

However, the Pandemic had a disastrous result for this sector. Tourism GDP fell by 69% in 2020. This led to a decrease in employment rates and the closure of numerous businesses in the tourism sector. The tourism sector in Spain closed 2020 with 300,000 fewer employees than in 2019. In the case of the self-employed the fall was about 8,000. Pandemic effects are still visible in 2022

In Spain, the post-pandemic period has led to an increase in inland and rural tourism. Spaniards are leaving the country less and are looking for options closer to home. Nevertheless, this increase in national tourism has been accompanied by a decrease in foreign tourism.

A survey published by The Blueroom Project noted that 80% of respondents to this study “believe that culinary experiences are one of the key elements in their customers’ choice to travel.” The tourism business associated with gastronomy has experienced growth in recent years. According to those surveyed, gastronomic tourism tends to be combined with: visits to the destination and its surroundings (79%), cultural itineraries (56%), wellness activities, including thermal centers (27%), and other activities.

Employment opportunities

The pandemic has opened up new opportunities for rural tourism. Many people are looking for more remote destinations, in contact with nature, to spend their vacations. Therefore, gastronomic and thermal tourism should take advantage of the situation and improve its promotion and dissemination strategies, focusing on this new target population that has emerged, who are concerned about their health and are looking for safe options away from the crowds.

Due to the aging of the rural population, there is a lack of entrepreneurship and qualified personnel. There is a need to show people that rural areas are a viable business opportunity, that there are people interested in what the local culture has to offer. If local entrepreneurship increases, so will job openings.

The most popular types of tourism in Spain are: gastronomic, historical, cultural, thermal, alternative, etc.).  Gastronomic tourism manages to show the traveler the gastronomic culture of the place he is visiting. Gastronomy can be a starting point to delve into the culture and history of the place. Spain has a vast gastronomic culture differentiated by regions. The rural areas are not left behind and stand out for their traditional cuisine based on local products.

Due to the growing interest in gastronomic tourism, it should be considered a viable option for generating employment in rural areas.

Challenges in the industry 

The most urgent challenges for the tourism sector are: promoting the generation of new jobs, improving worker training strategies and attracting new qualified workers for the jobs on offer. Promote the exchange of experiences and knowledge among entities and territories that enriches all participants.

Borders between countries are once again open and travel to other countries is a viable option. As a result, local tourism may experience a slight decline. In order to reduce possible losses, it is essential to encourage foreign tourism.

In order to attract new customers to rural areas, it is essential to increase the visibility of these areas and their culture through innovative marketing and promotional strategies. To this end, the exchange of experiences and knowledge among entities and territories that enriches all participants can be a strategy to be taken into account.

Good practices for finding employees and promoting the business

Promotion strategies:

A business website gives confidence to our business, increases the possibility that customers know the existence of the business and that they decide to go to it. Regarding the website, SEO  is a promotional strategy that allows the growth of visits to the website in an organic way. Therefore, investing in SEO training, or hiring an external service can help us to improve the visibility of the web.

Social networks are currently the best way to make your business known. It is important to be aware of new trends. Social networks are constantly changing and not paying attention to them can diminish our impact on them.

The most used social networks today are: Facebook (currently used a little less), Instagram and Tiktok. Depending on the social network used, the audience you can access changes. Facebook is used by older people. Tiktok gathers younger people and is currently trending.

The key to success in social networks is consistency, having a constant rhythm of publications is rewarded both by users and by the applications themselves.

A possible option to increase web traffic and visibility in social networks is to invest in advertising. Instagram and facebook give the option to promote publications to increase your reach. From google ads, you can directly promote your website.

Another possible promotion option is to register in tourist guides or rural tourism portals. Normally it is necessary to pay to appear in them, but, they are better positioned webs, so you save the work of positioning yourself on your own. The disadvantage is that you will appear in the portal together with your possible competitors. In these cases a differentiation strategy will be necessary.

Keys to attract talent to rural areas

Generate a responsible brand image that provides confidence to potential candidates. 

Create a good working environment: Respect established working hours, comply with payments to workers.

Daily challenges: Routine and talent are at odds, when talent gets bored and their motivation drops, they usually start looking for new challenges inside or outside the company. Facilitating new challenges and generating environments conducive to innovation is key to retaining talent in organizations.

Improving the quality of life of employees: length of the working day, family reconciliation, flexible working hours, and the reconciliation of work and family life, together with remuneration, is a key factor in retaining talent in organizations.

Taking into account the opinions of all makes on the one hand that different points of view and different solutions are seen, and on the other hand that people are involved in the project, this involvement is key to stay in the company and maintain motivation. Feeling useful makes the commitment to the company stronger and longer lasting.

Continuous training: The possibility for the employee to continue training in the company gives them the feeling that they are progressing and continuing to improve.

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