For the first time, Mapilife the guide with the best experiences attended one of the most important tourism fairs in the world, FITUR Madrid 2019. The objective was to learn first hand the innovations of the tourism sector and pick up ideas for a new season full of new features.
Leaving from the high-speed rail (AVE) station in Camp de Tarragona with a suitcase full of maps we arrived at Atocha station in just over two hours and from there we could already enjoy the streets and squares of the Spanish capital on foot. On our walk to Lavapiés the neighbourhood we called home for the weekend, we passed the famous Plaza del Sol and beautiful Retiro Park. We hadn’t come to be tourists however, we had come to discover one of the most prestigious tourism fairs in the world.
This year over 250,000 visitors and 10,000 professionals attended the large Ferama site, located in the north of the city with hundreds of stands, conferences, and shows showcasing all there is to discover in the world of tourism. A few areas particularly caught our attention.
The Catalan Brand
In the centre of the Pavilion for Autonomous Communities, there was the bright and modern Catalonia tourism zone, where popular tourist hot spots were promoted with giant Instagram-style photographs. The Costa Daurada was placed right next to its actual neighbour the Terres de l’Ebre.
We met many involved in the tourist offices in Reus and Salou who were pleasantly surprised to see Mapilife attending the fair, many of which congratulated us on the guide in adding to the overall promotion of the area.
The Great Destinations
In other pavilions at the fair, there were stands for the countries with the main tourist destinations in the world. An ideal occasion to collect maps to inspire new ideas for the Mapilife guides this season.
We calculated that we accumulated about a hundred maps and in our minds, the guide we do on the Costa Daurada is ahead of many others. Its content, useful information and user-friendly design all adapt to the needs of the user and this creates a joyful experience to discover the recommendations.
Visit the African continent
The most colourful and lively area of the FITUR fair was the Africa zone where you could find Tabia Safaris run by an entrepreneur couple from Reus, Eugeni and Tina who have specialised in personalised tours for Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda.
As veterans of the fair they had replicas of real sized animals and moving lion it was one of the most crowded spaces in the entire enclosure. At one point one couple asked them whether they offered hunting as part of the safaris and as diplomatically as possible they explained they were 100% against this type of tourism and that their trips were as sustainable and undamaging to wildlife and nature as possible. Mapilife follows this attitude by not promoting any activity or show where animals, such as zoos, bullfights or animal transports, are used. We prefer to give space to animal protection associations across the area such as the good people of SOS Gat Salou.
The experiences of FITUR
Hotels, airline companies, and many more tourist experiences were there to discover. One that stood out above the others was PortAventura, one of the best theme parks in the world and the first experience of our guide. In their space, they explained the new attractions of the season which we will reveal soon.
The technological evolution the tourist sector is fascinating. Especially those projects that seek to make our way of booking, traveling, enjoying and communicating even easier.
It was curious to see how some great technological ideas can be used in the Costa Daurada through the new Mapilife website, which will have an online map of experiences, personalized pages for each company and much more interaction with the user, as well top quality translations.
As a guide of the best experiences, we will suggest some gems we discovered in Madrid outside the fair across the weekend. Gastronomically we discovered the fusion in Alberto Chicote’s Yakitorio restaurant, tapas with touches of truffles from the Mercado de San Antón and the typical squid sandwich in the neighbourhood of Malasaña.
From a more cultural point of view, we took advantage that the Reina Sofía and the Prado museums were free for Sunday and we admired the great Gernika by Pablo Picasso just five minutes from where we later said goodbye and caught the train back to our beautiful coast and to continue working with refreshed enthusiasm on our guide. Tourism is a lever of global change, it improves and benefits the receiving society and opens the minds of those who want to enjoy and nourish other cultures and ways of seeing the world.