Spain to renew U.S. marketing efforts

NEW YORK -- This summer and fall, Spanish tourism officials will reinvigorate advertising and promotion efforts in the U.S. that were slowed after Sept. 11 and ASTA's subsequent decision to move its 2001 World Travel Congress here from Seville.

The Spanish government invested $8 million in an updated Internet site at www.okspain.org to launch by the third week of June.

And in a four-month campaign to run September through December, at least $2 million will be spent on marketing the Spain brand across the U.S., said the Tourist Office of Spain in New York, with special attention paid to major markets such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Travel agents will figure heavily in all promotion efforts, according to Juan Jose Guemes, Spain's secretary general of tourism.

"Spain's good relations with travel agents -- we've built strong relationships with individuals through initiatives such as the Spain specialist program -- is one of our competitive advantages," said Guemes. "In creating our new portal, one of the [goals] is to provide agents with tools.

"We're innovating... and we'll be leaders worldwide."

Spain spent between $4 million and $5 million on U.S. promotions in 2001, said officials, including some $500,000 devoted to the ASTA event.

Although this year's budget is significantly smaller, the 2003 budget will exceed that of 2001, said Guemes.

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Look for a one-on-one interview with Juan Jose Guemes in a future issue of Travel Weekly.

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