Spain Announces New Tourism Officials

Spain’s government, led by President Mariano Rajoy, has appointed new officials to helm the tourism office. In a ceremony earlier this month, José Manuel Soria was sworn in as Minister for Energy, Industry and Tourism; Isabel Borrego as the Deputy Secretary for Tourism; and Manuel Butler as the new director of the Tourism Institute of Spain – Turespaña.

José Manuel Soria
The new Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism began his career as a market analyst for the Spanish Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. An economist, Soria taught international and macroeconomics at the Centro de Estudios Comerciales in Madrid. Upon entering politics, he served as advisers to the Ministry of Finance and the Economy and the Ministry of Commerce before he returned to the Canary Islands, where he was born.

Soria was elected Mayor of the City of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a position he held from 1995 to 2003. He then became President of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria until 2007. His economics background and long career as a politician has made him an expert on matters that affect the tourism industry. Soria’s roots in the Canary Islands also make the industry an important one to him. The Canary Islands are one of the main tourist vacation destinations in Spain, welcoming 16.35 percent of all total visitors to the country and contains 13 percent of the hotel beds in Spain.

Isabel Borrego
The new Deputy Secretary of State for Tourism, born in Palma de Mallorca, has the industry in her blood. The Balearic Islands, Borrego’s home, represents 17.52 percent of the Spanish tourism industry.

Her home inspired Borrego to study law at the University of the Balearic Islands and earn a Masters in Construction Law and Real Estate. Her professional work has focused on urban development and its impact on the hospitality sectors. From 2005 to 2007, she served as general director of Architecture and Housing of the Balearic Islands. Borrego has also served as an adviser in the Ministry of Environment, Housing, and Territorial Planning for the Region of Madrid since 2007.

Borrego has announced that she will immediately undertake a comprehensive plan to grow Spain’s "main export industry," noting the importance of tourism for the Spanish economy.
Manuel Butler
The new general director of the Tourism Institute of Spain – Turespaña – has had a long career promoting Spanish tourism. Butler has been the director of the Spanish Tourism Office for the United Kingdom, Germany, Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and the southeastern United States. As technical secretary of the Spanish Council of Tourism, he prepared the "Horizon 2020" plan, a roadmap to establish Spain as a premier tourism destination.

Butler holds a PhD in Naval Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, and has written several books on the cruise industry. He has also had experience in the private sector, serving as general manager of sales and marketing for HUSA Hotels.

He will work in tandem with the new Deputy Secretary of State for Tourism, Isabel Borrego.

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