Cover Story: In Search of Rejuvenation
“The new strategies for us are very clear, no?” Piñanes asks. “We are trying to work very hard in [the] Internet because we consider that the individual tourist is [traveling to] Spain more than the tourists in groups or packages.”
This online effort joins a sea of changes for Iberian Peninsula tourism marketing. A few years ago, Spain’s tourism officials decided to shift the country’s image from a fun in the sun hot spot more toward that of a cultured, gastronomic pleasure jaunt. Around that time, those comfortably blending images began to coincide with those of Spain’s Romance language-sharing peninsula partner, Portugal.
So even before starting their Internet partnership, Piñanes says, both countries began discovering what they had in common and how they could work together to promote what they consider the best European vacation value around. In 2006, Spanish and Portuguese officials formalized that agreement.
Nuno Miguel Alves, North American tourism coordinator for the Portuguese Trade and Tourism Commission, says more than historic ties to the Romans, Celts and Moors unite the peninsula. American tourists regularly discover that Portuguese and Spanish people share a passion for life and an outgoing, friendly spirit toward visitors.
“We have lots of points of coincidence,” Piñanes says. “We are the doors of entrance [to] Europe for American tourists.”
Portugal? Spain? Both.
What marketers, globally, may notice is that Spain’s and Portugal’s amenities are nice, but they’ve always been there. What made 2007 different was simple: PortugalSpainBoth.com.
Enter Travel Spike and Bifulco’s vision to present those amenities to Americans in digestible, but sticky, bits. The challenge Spain and Portugal had to overcome in the U.S.—even before they could fine-tune their online strategy—was to first educate Americans about the countries that are just a seven-hour plane ride from New York.