FITUR, a showcase of trends in the tourism sector
Luis Gallego, President of IBERIA and the Organizing Committee of FITUR shares his vision on the fair that takes place from January 22 to 26 in Madrid
FITUR celebrates its 40th edition in 2020. How do you rate the presence of IBERIA in this fair over the years?
The assessment of our presence at FITUR has always been very positive. During these 40 years, Iberia has been very faithful to its appointment with FITUR and we have always considered the fair as a great meeting point for the whole sector, the great reference for tourism in Spain and I think that also for regions such as Latin America.
For Iberia, FITUR is a great opportunity to show professionals and customers our news for each year, at the fair we sign agreements that have been brewing during the previous year, and we also take advantage of FITUR to recognize the work of many travel agencies , companies and tour operators with whom we work closely.
How is a means of transport such as the plane contributing to tourism development?
The airplane's contribution to tourism development has been very relevant; we just have to compare the figures of tourist arrivals to Spain in these 40 years of FITUR. In the eighties, there were around 38 million people; at the end of the nineties - coinciding with the liberalization of air transport - that figure had almost doubled to more than 74 million visitors; and this year we have reached impressive figures again.
In a market as competitive as tourism, with so many countries that are making such a good promotion, that Spain manages to remain among the first two or three world powers has a lot to do with all the efforts being made from the public and private spheres, but also with the excellent connectivity of our country with the whole world, from Latin America to Asia through Europe and that is, in large part, the work of the airlines that operate here.
What plans does IBERIA have for the coming years?
Our main objective has always been that our business is sustainable, in every way: economically sustainable, because that is what will allow us to continue growing, to be an increasingly global company, to contribute to tourism development and, in general, to the economy of our country. To achieve this we will help, among others, innovation and the latest technology available, to improve the experience of our customers and also to be more efficient.
And our business also has to be sustainable from an environmental point of view. Sustainability is the biggest and most important challenge we face, simply and simply because, future generations depend on it. Sustainability is not cosmetic; I want to work in a company that really cares about reducing the impact of its operations and being more sustainable, and it is also one of the requirements that are being implemented more quickly in the tourism sector.
In this sense, what actions related to sustainability are IBERIA carrying out?
The truth is that climate change is progressing so fast that, in a very short time, sustainability has gone from being a future desire to become an urgent priority, which requires the commitment and joint action of governments, private sector and citizenship .
Our group, IAG, has been at the forefront of the air sector, committing to achieve 0 net CO2 emissions in 2050, in line with the objective of the Global Compact to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 ° C.
Complying with this commitment is already making a strong investment in fleet renewal, which will continue until 2050; It also involves betting on the development and distribution of non-fossil fuels to reach an alternative that is really viable for aviation; that all the companies of the group -like the whole air sector- participate in Corsia, the emission compensation system and many other initiatives that we are already carrying out in our daily operation: since the incorporation of electric vehicles, weight reduction in airplanes or the progressive elimination of plastics, which will help us achieve the goal of 0 net emissions in 2050 and, above all, be more sustainable and look to the future with more optimism.
In addition to the president of Iberia, you are president of the Organizing Committee of FITUR. In your opinion, what role does this fair play in the tourism industry?
In these 40 years of FITUR, I believe that the fair has contributed, above all, to the internationalization of our country as a tourist destination, but especially of the sector itself, contributing to its professionalization and the adoption of the best practices that have been examples for other markets
Year after year, FITUR has been a showcase of trends that have then been implemented in the sector. If there is a business in which our country has managed to reinvent itself, adapt to new technologies, and focus on new markets and segments and, with all this, become resistant to economic crises, that has been tourism.
There is still much to do, especially in terms of promotion in some new markets, but I am sure that FITUR will continue to be that meeting point, that reference that shows us the way forward.