With the public money of the Community of Madrid and the City Council of the capital, the professionalism of Ifema and the experience of the private sector, Madrid Turismo by Ifema is launched, a platform that will coordinate Madrid’s tourism promotion. In total, there will be 36 million euros of investment –30 from the Community and 6 from the City Council– over the next three years, managed with the know-how of Ifema and based on recommendations from the large companies in the sector. “It is the most ambitious project for tourism in this region in the last decade”, said the president Isabel Diaz Ayuso.
Bringing together in the same body the two Madrid administrations, the regional and the municipal, and the private sector, is something that the tourism industry has been claiming for decades.
And that had been tried, without success, on several occasions. This time, in the absence of the agreement that formalizes the initiative, the teams from both institutions are already working together, and side by side with Ifema, an institution with so much experience in management that it will mean an injection of ‘rock and roll’ that stimulates the start-up of projects.
Madrid Turismo by Ifema “is a historical demand from the tourism sector that asked us to work as a single body with the rest of the agents involved such as associations, hotel groups or airlines,” explained Díaz Ayuso. The agreement reached is “historic”, reinforced the mayor, Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida, and it also comes at a time when “Madrid is fashionable.”
The data indicates that the tourism industry accounts for 7 percent of Madrid’s GDP. National tourism has recovered, compared to the moments before the pandemic, and international tourism already reaches half of the pre-Covid figures. “Now is the time to take off and multiply those results,” said the regional president.
Official calculations estimate that if the arrival of tourists from Asia and America is increased by 20 percent, spending on international tourists in the region would increase by 40 percent. And that now the Community of Madrid registers the highest average daily expenditure per international visitor: 247 euros –the national average is 142 euros–.
The third leg of the agreement is Ifema, and the president of its executive committee, Jose Vicente de los Mozos He thanked them for being given “a very active role in the international promotion of Madrid as a tourist destination”, with which it will be possible to go “faster and further” than ever before.
The tourism sector had been demanding this collaboration between institutions for many years, but although there were attempts to create mechanisms for confluence and coordination between administrations and private parties, they did not materialize. Díaz Ayuso’s electoral program in 2019 included it, and now it is in the process of materializing. It is, acknowledge the Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, Daniel Martínez, “complex” to achieve this coordination “due to the rigidity of the public sector” and the “guarantee” of its management.
At this point, the entry into the Ifema equation can provide greater agility in the procedures. In fact, the fair institution provides “a professionalized structure that offers multiple guarantees, and that is already a tourist agent.”
Another undeniable advantage, recalls Martínez, is that “the City Council and the Community are already within Ifema” which makes it “a natural space to reach agreements”. In fact, he estimates that having «Ifema’s structure allows a more efficient use of public resources, because structure costs are reduced, and it will allow more than 90 percent of spending to be effective in specific actions to promote Madrid».
The Platform will work through a Table of Tourism Experts, which will be the work space in which the private sector will contribute its collaboration in two ways. On the one hand, sharing the objectives and proposals for actions that they consider most effective. And on the other, sharing their knowledge of how the industry works, “they who are the industry”, recalls the deputy minister.
The Platform will be a management tool that, in addition, contains a political agreement on the priorities of tourism in Madrid:Decisions will be made by the institutions, after listening and discussing with the sector, through its main associations and the most representative companies. And the control mechanisms are those of each administration.
The formula will force the different agents involved to learn to collaborate. The Panel of Experts, in which the most representative associations of the tourism sector and their companies will take part, will be divided into sections dealing with strategy and brand, and of the different markets to which the shares are directed: the United States and Canada, Latin America, and Asia-Middle East, in addition to Europe.
The foundership, €36 million, extends over three years –beyond the next elections–, which will give stability to the project.
It is also noteworthy, remember in the Ministry, that these 36 million euros are extraordinary budgets: in addition to them, the Community of Madrid includes in its public accounts an amount of between 15 and 17 million euros per year for tourism promotion. Which means that, adding all of them, “the region will be investing more than 70 million for this purpose during the next three years.”
The legal formalities to put Madrid Turismo by Ifema into operation are already underway. In a few weeks it will start working, although the agreement between administrations and Ifema has yet to be signed.