No one would argue that cuisine isn’t an integral part of travel, but few tourism boards would go so far as to make a chef an ambassador. That, however, is exactly what Spain’s tourism board has done, with the recent announcement that Chef Ferrán Adriá will be the board’s Brand Ambassador for Spain as a Tourist Destination.
This week, a press conference brought members of the media together with Chef Adriá; Joan Mesquida, Spain’s Secretary of State for Tourism; H.E. Jorge Dezcallar, Ambassador of Spain; Marketing Director Enrique Ruiz de Lera; and Paloma Notario, director of Spain’s tourism office in New York. At the conference, Adriá spoke at length about the power food can have over travel.
“All nations have their own language, and they also have their own cuisine,” he explained. Restaurants can range from very haute dining to casual tapas bars, so there is always something to attract any kind of visitor with every kind of taste. The recent tapas craze in America has helped, he noted: “Tapas are a revolution; a way of life. It’s a lifestyle!” Beyond dining in restaurants, cooking classes and hands-on culinary activities are changing the way people visit the country. Tourists today want emotions and experiences, he noted—and entering the kitchen is an experience. He also estimated that 6 million people came to Spain last year with a main focus on trying the food.
|Paloma Notario & Joan Mesquida|
Enrique Ruiz de Lera also presented several new commercials directed by film director Julio Medem that tie into the tourism board’s new campaign: “I Need Spain.” The tagline, he noted, is not dissimilar to the iconic I ♥ New York tagline that can still be seen on t-shirts around the world. The commercials show people traveling around the country and talking about things they do not need when traveling, finally ending with “I just need Spain.” He said that 86 percent of potential travelers who have seen the commercials have expressed a desire to visit Spain, a significant increase over the effectiveness of the last campaign. The campaign was created by McCann Erickson, and features photography by Erik Almas and Ale Burset.
Photos by Jose Barreiro