The ‘Green Spain’ tourism brand brings together four of Spain’s Autonomous Regions – Galicia, the Principality of Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country – all of which are characterised by the diversity of their landscapes (sea, mountains, rivers, lakes, forests and typical flora and fauna), and their culture. Stretching from the Cantabrian Sea to the north to the mountain range of the same name to the south, the regions that make up ‘Green Spain’ represent an exciting alternative to the typical ‘sun and sea’ holidays for which Spain is famous. There we find nature in its purest state, excellent local food, fascinating cultural routes (including the Pilgrims’ Way to Santiago de Compostela), a wide range of opportunities for adventure tourism (such as horse riding, trekking and canoeing), attractive cities, and a wide range of accommodation, all combined with the warm, welcoming nature of the inhabitants of this part of Spain. This ‘Green Spain’, which boasts Spain’s largest offer of rural tourism establishments, has a series of features that make it unique, and is an area that has kept its most authentic features very much alive. It has undergone spectacular development in the area of tourism, set against an incomparable, inviting natural backdrop. Each of these four Autonomous Regions has its own particular identity, allowing visitors to enjoy quiet corners in which ancient traditions still form a part of daily life, at the same time as the most cutting-edge forays into artistic expression of recent years. The main aim of the “Green Spain” brand is to establish itself in foreign markets – and subsequently in the national market – with tourism offer in the four regions of Spain that run along the Cantabrian coast, which provides an alternative to traditional sun and sea’destinations. All four regions have their own clearly defined traditions and history, as well as offering similar opportunities for quality tourism. Our aim is to present a different, competitive destination for clients who are both sensitive and demanding, who will find in each of the four regions varying landscapes, culture, history, gastronomy and customs, yet which share common features such as the Cantabrian Sea and the Pilgrims’ Way to Santiago , the pilgrims’ road that crosses all four Autonomous Regions. The “Green Spain” project was created in 1989 for the joint promotion of the four regions that lie along the Cantabrian coast – Galicia, the Principality of Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country – with the backing of the Spanish government’s General Secretariat for Tourism. This led to occasional tourism promotion actions, but it was not until 1996 when the promotion of this tourist destination began in earnest. Since then, a co-operation protocol has been signed each year between the four regions and the General Secretariat for Tourism of Spain, with the purpose of promoting the brand at an international and national level. 2009 will see the signing of the fourteenth Collaboration Agreement, with the Autonomous Region of Cantabria acting as the coordinator for promoting “Green Spain”, taking over from Galicia, which acted as coordinator during 2007. The Basque Country was the coordinator in 2007 and Asturias in 2006.
A historic landmark in the development of the “Green Spain” brand was the First International Conference on Tourism and Sustainable Development in Green Spain, held in Bilbao in June 1997. Santander hosted the second International Conference in 1998, and Asturias the third in 2001. In 1997 the “Green Spain” tourism brand received the “Global and Green Award” at the World Travel Market trade fair in London, given to companies, organisations or individuals who make major contributions to the development of tourism, whilst safeguarding and defending the environment. The following figures offer an overview of “Green Spain’s” potential for tourism:
• Total extension: 52,520 km² • Inhabitants: 6,510,332 • Coastline: 2,429 km • Beaches: 1,089 • Spas: 32 • Thalassotherapy Centres: 9 • Golf Courses: 54 • National Parador Hotels: 19 • Hotel Places: 110,163 • Places in Campsites: 95,843 • Places in Tourist Apartments: 12,355 • Places in Rural Accommodation: 32,022 • Places in Pensions: 32,798 • Number of Restaurants: 12,381 • National Parks, Natural Parks, Biosphere Reserves: 44 • 80% of the land is covered by woodland and pasture. • Number of visitors in 2008 (January-November): 10,521,600, representing 81.85% of the domestic market, and 18.15 % of the international market.
20 ANNIVERSARY OF THE GREEN SPAIN BRAND Green Spain will be celebrating its twentieth anniversary in 2009, becoming the longest-lasting Spanish tourism brand. It was created under the sponsorship of the State Department of Tourism and Turespaña, based on the logotype of Turismo de España (Tourism of Spain), created by the universal Catalonian artist Antonio Miró. Over these 20 years, the international dissemination and projection of the Green Spain brand has increased and achieved a significant position within the context of Spanish tourism. Green Spain is an inter-regional co-operation system that includes a number of initiatives. The results obtained concerning the gaining of new markets and tourists are much better than what each region could achieve individually. The excellent relationship and the co-ordination of efforts between the State Administration and the Regions of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country, which began in 1989, has generated a brilliant brand that has achieved excellent results at European and world level. PALAEOLITHIC CAVE ART ON THE NORTH COAST OF SPAIN: WORLD HERITAGE Green Spain was the central feature, in July 2008, of a cultural milestone: the registration of 17 caves featuring cave art in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Nine caves in Cantabria, five in Asturias and three in the Basque Country were added to the catalogue of great world monuments; joining Altamira Cave which has been on the list since 1985. El Castillo, Las Monedas, La Pasiega, Las Chimeneas, Hornos de la Peña, Covalanas, La Garma, Chufín and El Pendo, in Cantabria; Tito Bustillo, La Peña de Candamo, Llonín, Covaciella and El Pindal, in Asturias; and Ekain, Altxerri and Santimamiñe in the Basque Country form the collection of World Heritage Palaeolithic cave art. 3
THE FOUR COMMUNITIES, ONE BY ONE
GALICIA Galicia, where Green Spain begins and ends, is a paradise waiting to be discovered. Its lush, green landscapes, with countless rivers and streams, cover a richly varied geography, predominated by hills and valleys, with a craggy coastline of some 1,300 kilometres, with 13 estuaries and more than 700 beaches. Galicia also boasts an ancient culture with Celtic origins, firmly rooted in the countryside, and making it the ideal location to enjoy rural tourism in country houses that form an inseparable part of the landscape and the Galician identity. Its magnificent gastronomy, with excellent fish, seafood and wines, its extensive offer of nautical and adventure tourism, its important cultural tradition connected with the Pilgrims’ Way to Santiago, and its legendary hospitality make Galicia an obligatory destination for those seeking the very heart of “Green Spain”.
ASTURIAS The Principality of Asturias lies along the Pilgrims’ Way to Santiago. Its most important feature is its extraordinary natural beauty, hence the slogan: “Asturias: A Natural Paradise”. Covering just over 10,000 square kilometres, with 345 kilometres of coastline, it boasts excellent conditions for adventure, cultural or gastronomic tourism, and a magnificent network of hotels. It has three main cities: Oviedo, the capital, Gijón and Avilés. One third of its territory has been declared a Protected Natural Area. The mountain ranges of the Picos de Europa, Somiedo, Redes and Muniellos have been declared Worldwide Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO. Culturally, it is famous for its PreRomanesque art, comprising a series of buildings erected between the eighth and tenth centuries, testimony of its history as the first Christian kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula. This heritage, with Santa María del Naranco as its finest example, has earned it the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This organisation has also recognised the exceptional contribution made by the Prince of Asturias Awards to supporting cultural heritage at the twenty-fifth award ceremony.
CANTABRIA Cantabria reflects the symbiosis between a natural environment full of unique landscapes, intense cultural and artistic activity, and a high-quality tourism sector. Nature in its purest form is without doubt one of the most typical features of this region, which combines peaks soaring to a height of 2,600 metres with beaches of fine, golden sands, in a landscape marked by the Cantabrian Sea and the Picos de Europa mountains. Cantabria is a land of great contrasts featuring a surprising underground world with over 6,500 caves, many of historical and geological significance, such as the ten caves declared World Heritage Sites or El Soplao Cave. The 220 kilometres of its coastline feature 90 beaches and a variety of small towns and fishing villages that contrast with those of the interior. The natural beauty and variety of this region, which features 37 protected areas (including one National Park and six Nature Reserves), is combined with an artistic and historical tradition seen in the many monuments and cultural events, such as the Summer Courses of the Menéndez Pelayo International University, Santander’s International Festival and the Paloma O’Shea Santander Piano Contest. Here visitors will find all that Green Spain has to offer, from beaches and mountains to spas, as well as excellent gastronomy, golf and sailing, and a large number of rural tourism establishments.
THE BASQUE COUNTRY The geography of the Basque Country makes it a unique tourist destination. Its definition as a land of blue and green perfectly illustrates its uniqueness, and all possibilities it offers for lovers of nature. Covering 7,261 km2, 53.3% of which is wooded, and boasting more than 18 areas of major ecological importance, the region is a verdant paradise, brimming over with life. Its 252 kilometres of coastline offer travellers the chance to enjoy its reaches and a wide range of water sports, for which the Basque Country has an extensive infrastructure. Combined with features such as its internationally renowned gastronomy, or landmarks such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Basque Country is famous throughout the world as a quality tourism destination. Also, thanks to its position in the peninsula, it connects the rest of Spain’s Atlantic and western regions with the rest of Europe. Its well-developed tourism infrastructure and communications mean it offers the perfect balance between tradition and innovation, which is one of its most outstanding features. ‘GREEN SPAIN’ PROMOTIONAL ACTIVITIES PLAN for 2009 The promotional activities planned for Green Spain for 2009 will be coordinated by the Autonomous Region of Cantabria. 1.- INTERNATIONAL FAIRS
• VAKANTIEBEURS, Utrecht (Holland) 13 to 18 January • FERIEN MESSE, Vienna (Austria) 15 to 18 January – Representing Asturias • CMT, Stuttgart (Germany) 17 to 25 January • REISEN, Hamburg (Germany) 4 to 8 February – Representing the Basque Country • SALON DES VACANCES, Brussels (Belgium) 5 to 9 February • B.I.T. Milan (Italy) 19 to 22 February. • OUTDOOR ADVENTURE SHOW, Toronto (Canada) 20 to 22 February- Representing Cantabria • SALON MAHAMA, Toulouse (France) 27 February to 1 March – Representing Asturias • I.T.B. Berlin (Germany) 11 to 15 March. • MAP, Paris (France) 18 to 22 March - Representing Cantabria • TUR, Goteborg (Sweden) 19 to 22 March – Representing Galicia • JATA World Travel Fair, Tokyo (Japan) 18 to 20 September – Representing Galicia • W.T.M. London (United Kingdom) 9-12 November. 2.- “GREEN SPAIN” LOCAL CAMPAIGN
• Local Campaign aimed at target public, Regent Street - London (31st May). 3. PRODUCT PRESENTATIONS “Green Spain”
• Presentations aimed at tour operators, travel agencies and means of communication in Geneva, Zurich, Oslo and Copenhagen, in Spring.
4. FAM TRIPS WITH WORKSHOP FOR TOUROPERATORS
• FAM TRIP WITH WORKSHOP in Cantabria in connection with the Australian and Singapore markets (October). • FAM TRIP WITH WORKSHOP in Asturias in connection with the Mexican, Brazilian and Argentine markets (May). • FAM TRIP WITH WORKSHOP in Galicia in connection with the US and Canadian markets (October). • FAM TRIP WITH WORKSHOP in the Basque Country in connection with the Japanese market (June).
5. INDIVIDUAL PROSPECTION AND FAMILIARISATION TRIPS
• With travel agencies or tour operators • With the media 6. DIRECT MARKETING IN THE FOLLOWING MARKETS:
• Switzerland • Mexico • United States • Canada • Denmark • Norway • Japan • Singapore • Australia • Brazil • Argentina 7. GREEN SPAIN THEME CHANNEL IN spain.info
• Continuity of the theme channel on the official Turespaña web site: www.spain.info 8. INTERNATIONAL PUBLICITY CAMPAIGN
• Turespaña will use the “lay out” of its international campaigns with the specific visual elements for this brand in the markets object of this action plan.
9. BRAND IMPACT SURVEY
• An impact survey of Green Spain promotion actions in the different markets targeted over the last 9 years will be prepared.
THE PILGRIMS’ WAY TO SANTIAGO THROUGH “GREEN SPAIN” Without doubt, the Camino de Santiago or the Pilgrims’ Way to Santiago has been one of Europe’s most important cultural itineraries for many centuries. After news was spread of the discovery of the tomb of the Apostle St. James in the ninth century, of the whole of Christian Europe turned towards Santiago de Compostela, a reference point for mediaeval Christianity. From that moment onwards, there would be a constant flow of pilgrims from all over the continent making their way Santiago, forging and consolidating different routes by chance, necessity or faith. Two main routes have survived to this day in our collective memory: the French Way, stretching over the plains of Castile, and the Northern Way, the oldest route, running along the coast. Travelling along this route, through Green Spain, leads us to beautiful, historical corners of the four regions of northern Spain: Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country. All of them preserve important vestiges of Europe’s spiritual past: hermitages, churches, monasteries, ancient roads and pilgrims’ hostels; a world of culture, religion and history that envelops the modernday traveller in the magic of old Europe. As a result, Green Spain has published the leaflet “The Pilgrims’ Way to Santiago through Green Spain”, to promote the routes that cross Green Spain, targeting the international markets.
TOURISM NEWS FOR GALICIA IN 2009 Xacobeo 2010 Galicia will make an effort throughout 2009 to promote the most authentic elements of the Pilgrims’ Way to Santiago as one of the main cultural and pilgrimage routes in the world. With more wide ranging interventions in the public areas crossed by the French Route over recent years, this route has been recovered in urban environments. The same can be said of traditional architecture, the environment and certain religious buildings. The idea is to offer the most authentic elements of the Route to those who travel along it: over 600,000 people a year. 2010 will, once again, be a Holy Year in Compostela and Galicia will celebrate the event by implementing the Xacobeo 2010 programme: twelve months of excellent cultural, scientific and social events that will make Galicia one of the favourite destinations in Spain once again. Old quarters One of the tourist-related projects in Galicia for 2009 is to enable visitors to enjoy the cultural, artistic and monumental wealth of the old quarters of the seven large cities: Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense, Pontevedra, Ferrol and Vigo; each one different from the rest but with their own charm. The old quarters of our cities have been restored and adapted to tourism related requirements; they are areas where a number of architectural styles combine and where, among the main attractions, we find the inhabitants themselves. Ribeira Sacra The Autonomous Region of Galicia is also committed, this year, to Inland Tourism, and will dedicate a great deal of attention of the A Ribeira Sacra district, which comprises part of the south of the province of Lugo and the north of Ourense, on both banks of the Sil River, an area of canyons that concentrates a numerous typical religious buildings in the Galician Romanesque style. Ribeira Sacra features monasteries, chapels and churches of great monumental value. It also offers boundless natural areas and unique landscapes of inland Galicia. This area offers high quality accommodation, such as the “paradores” (State-owned hotels) of Monforte de Lemos (Lugo) and Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil (Ourense), as well as charming country inns and hotels. Health tourism Health Tourism in Galicia is a leading sector in Spain given the number and diversity of the services offered. The region of Galicia has always been known for its thermal baths, springs that were already used by the first settlers in this land. The Romans became aware of the springs and contributed the first infrastructure projects; many of their buildings still survive today next to modern buildings that provide a wide range of services. After the Middle Ages, it was in the XVIII century when the modern use of spas was re-introduced into Galicia, a trend that became consolidated in the XIX century. Towards the end of the XIX century, thermal baths enjoyed a surprising development in Galicia with the transformation of the existing spas into complex hotel installations. The splendour of Galician spas survived until the Civil War, but after the war they began to decline until the 1980s when they started to make an outstanding comeback. The Thermal Tourism offer in Galicia for the new century includes over 30 spas and other thermal installations throughout the region and is one of the largest and most varied in Spain, with a selection of one to five star establishments that combine health and leisure for all types of customers.
Galicia also offers new thermal therapies, such as thalassotherapy or the therapeutic use of sea water. Given the quality of the sea water, the Region of Galicia offers great potential for the development of this type of thermal system aimed at treating illnesses and also providing leisure related services. Currently, the Region of Galicia is renovating and extending its thermal installations, as well as introducing new techniques aimed at satisfying the ever more demanding requirements of users. Consequently, in Galicia, a new thermal concept has developed that contemplates spas as installations that combine springs, accommodation, health and therapeutic services, sports and leisure installations as a basis for Health Tourism. There are 21 spa-hotels, two thalassotherapy centres and 17 hotels with spa services in Galicia offering 4,272 beds ranging from one to five star accommodation, which comprises the most wide-ranging offer in Spain for healthrelated Tourism. Golf in Galicia More and more visitors who come to Galicia welcome the opportunity of playing golf, a social sport that, in the XXI century, brings locals and visitors together anywhere in the world. Consequently, golf has become a strategic element in Galiciaâ€™s tourism offer that has been significantly improved over recent years. The possibility of practising this sport in Galicia has been favoured by the transport network that exists between the different golf courses and the three Galician airports, the most important cities and tourist centres. There are currently a total of 19 golf courses in the four provinces of Galicia. There are seven 18 hole courses, 6 â€˜pitch & puttâ€™ grounds and eleven 9 hole courses. There are also integrated Health Tourism offers (hotel-spa + golf) available, such as the installations at A Toxa and Mondariz-Balneario, both in the province of Pontevedra, and Guitiriz and Augas Santas, in Lugo. Currently, some hotels are commissioning indoor golf installations or have agreements with clubs with official courses to enable their customers to practice golf at attractive prices and, in some cases, for free.
TOURISM NEWS FOR ASTURIAS IN 2009 PALAEOLITHIC CAVE ART ON THE NORTH COAST OF SPAIN: UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE Ancient culture and tradition In 2008, UNESCO declared a group of Prehistoric Caves in the North of Spain as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Asturias is home to five of the said caves. Over 10,000 years ago, in the Palaeolithic period, cave artists left their cultural imprint in the shape of paintings and engravings in Pindal, Tito Bustillo, Candamo, Llonín and Covaciella Caves. These caves are privileged venues for cave art enthusiasts. El Pindal, Tito Bustillo and Candamo Caves offer controlled visits at certain times in the year. For further information, please consult www.infoasturias.com in the cultural treasure, prehistoric caves section. A theme centre dedicated to the caves and to cave art is also open all year round - El Parque de la Prehistoria de Teverga (The Prehistory Park in Teverga) - where visitors may enjoy identical replicas of the interior of the said caves and of their paintings. For further information, please visit www.atraccionmilenaria.com CAVE PARADISE The “Cave Paradise” cultural project, comprising a number of theme-related installations - museums and interpretation centres - explains the geology, life and culture in the Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods. This network of installations is in the East of Asturias, very near the Picos de Europa Mountains, a natural site of incomparable views. All these installations will be open towards the end of 2009: The Peña Tú Interpretation Centre in Llanes, the Karst Workshop in Amieva and the Glacier Fauna Interpretation Centre in Onís. For further information, please visit www.orienteastur.info HEALTH TOURISM Asturias has an interesting offer of eighteen health-related tourism establishments; a number of Spa-Hotels, Spas and a thalassotherapy centre (sea water treatment) located in the centre of the city of Gijón. Talasoponiente is located between Poniente Beach and the Gijon Marina. It is open to the public and offers a number of services: water-park and sports area, thalassotherapy and physiotherapy area. For further information, please visit www.talasoponiente.com Another great thermal centre is the recently restored XVIII century hotel-spa located just outside the city of Oviedo. The Grand Hotel-Spa of Las Caldas is a five star establishment and offers a conference hall, a leisure thermal centre and a spa. For further information, please visit www.lascaldasvillatermal.com PARADISIACAL FOOD AND GASTRONOMIC ROUTES The fact that one can eat well in Asturias is no secret. The coast and the mountains are the great natural larder that has given rise to an excellent gastronomic culture and to the creation of a number of routes that enable visitors to become familiar with some of the region’s gastronomic jewels: The Cider Route, the Cabrales, Casín and Aguegalpitu Cheese Route and the Cangas Wine Route. This year, Asturias is also launching a Catalogue with 34 gastronomic weekend escapades; revealing routes for enthusiasts to enjoy “Asturias on your palate”, live the “Wine from Cangas, Land of Lords”, discover the “Secrets of cheese”, feel “Live Asturias like a king” and be seduced by “The sap of the forbidden fruit”. Consult the web site www.bienvenidoasturias.es and www.infoasturias.com - the Tasting Asturias section. 9
CATALOGUE OF WEEKEND VISITS â€?WELCOME TO ASTURIASâ€?. This year over 80 ideas to escape our daily lives by enjoying cultural experiences, active tourism, health tourism, golf or simply feeling free have been placed on the market. Asturias has, once again, brought 15 operators together in a catalogue full of ideas to get away from the daily routine during the low season. This year, the proposals put forward will take us looking for swarms of bees, following in the footsteps of the Romans, learning the work of blacksmiths or of miners. For further information, please visit www.bienvenidoasturias.es
TOURISM NEWS FOR CANTABRIA IN 2009 Cantabria will be promoting the region in 2009 with a universal message that intends to show the world its underground wealth. Under the general title of ‘The Other Sistine Chapels’, the Region has made the ten caves that feature Palaeolithic cave art, and that have been declared World Heritage Sites, together with El Soplao, a cave of outstanding geological interest, near which the most important amber site in the world has been discovered, the key elements of its tourist offer. A cultural heritage that goes back to prehistoric times and that is also one of the key strengths of Santander’s candidacy to becoming the European Capital of Culture 2016. Cantabria treasures the greatest density of caves featuring cave art in the world, with over 60. Altamira and the other nine caves that have been declared World Heritage Sites are the universal symbol of this valuable Palaeolithic heritage that co-exists with another surprising underground legacy: over 6,500 caves featuring impressive geological formations and spectacular views, such as El Soplao. Ten caves declared World Heritage Sites, a live archaeological adventure that invites visitors to enjoy Palaeolithic art. The UNESCO announced the declaration of another nine Cantabrian caves as World Heritage Sites last July, 2008. These caves have been added to the catalogue of great world monuments that already included Altamira Cave in 1985. The ceiling of bison figures is know worldwide as the ‘Sistine Chapel of Quaternary Art ‘. The recent acknowledgement of El Castillo, Las Monedas, La Pasiega, Las Chimeneas, Covalanas, El Pendo, Hornos de la Peña, Chufín and La Garma Caves has highlighted the archaeological wealth of Cantabria and the value of its caves as world reference points for Palaeolithic art. An additional aspect of Cantabrian prehistoric caves and one of their key attractions is that many can be visited, allowing visitors to enjoy a live archaeological adventure. Cantabria Infinita, cultural tourism destination Amber from El Soplao: Fossil jewels from 110 million years ago If the paintings dating from as far back as 35,000 years that can be seen in these caves are outstanding, the same can be said of a visit to the other Cantabrian underground “Sistine Chapel”: El Soplao. This cave has been named by geologists and speleologists from all over the world as the “Sistine Chapel of Geology”, given its wealth of formations and the spectacular nature and number of eccentric formations, stalactites and stalagmites that can be contemplated along a basic route prepared for tourists (1.5 kilometres) or on a more demanding adventure tourism route that visits a greater number of galleries in the cave. Furthermore, the cave has been, since 2008, a key location for researchers and scientists due to the discovery, near the cave, of the most important amber site in the world from the Cretaceous. The said site has been dated at 110 million years and has provided a large number of fossilised insects trapped in fragments of amber, many of which present a singular bluish-purple shade. This complex includes, apart from the cave itself, a visitor reception centre, a mine train and the Prado Collao walk, which connects with the La Florida heights, together with a spectacular open air sculpture exhibition, signed by a number of contemporary artists who have provided their personal interpretation of the cave. One of the most attractive elements connected with a visit to El Soplao Cave is the spectacular nature of the views that can be contemplated from the top of the mountains; either from the track or from the viewpoints located outside the cave. (www.elsoplao.es)
Cantabria Infinita, destination for nature tourism. Santander 2016. European Capital of Culture Santander has presented its candidacy to become the European Capital of Culture in the year 2016, an exciting project that will boost the development of the entire region by immediately implementing a number of cultural activities and programmes that will transform Santander into the “city of knowledge”. The Government of Cantabria and the Grupo Santander are wholeheartedly supporting this candidacy presented by the city Council together with the citizens and the main social, cultural and financial institutions of the region. The city’s European promotion and candidacy are based on a solid cultural tradition. Apart from the Menendez Pelayo International University (UIMP), which in 2008 held its 75th anniversary, the capital city of Cantabria also boasts a cultural tradition that includes the International Santander Festival, the Artesantander art fair, the Paloma O’Shea International Piano Contest, artistic events and exhibitions.... Furthermore, the surrounding area will also be a positive aspect of the candidacy. The historical and artistic heritage of the Region or such programmes as the Fundación Comillas project dedicated to the study of the Spanish language, together with the available infrastructure will all contribute to the future selection of the city. Based on the slogan, ‘Santander 2016. We are all capital’ the city will hold a number of campaigns and cultural programmes with a view to promoting and presenting itself as a firm candidate to become the European Capital of Culture. The project is based on four main elements: ‘Building Citizenship’, ‘Shipyards for the Future’, ‘The Power of Imagination’ and ‘Innovative Culture’. Cantabria Infinita, cultural tourism destination Visiting Museums in Cantabria Cantabria is a museum in itself, however, there are a number of museums that concentrate the cultural heritage of Cantabria from different points of view. Small museums, carefully designed to house knowledge, such as the Romanesque Interpretation Centre in Villacantid or the Cave Architecture Centre at Santa María de Valverde. Sites, such as the Roman city of Julióbriga or Centres, such as the Tower of Pero Niño which provide the possibility of learning about the customs of feudal societies. Cantabria also contemplates the sea from the Maritime Museum that provides a didactic view of the seabed. Cantabria Infinita, cultural tourism destination Health Tourism Cantabria, with a landscape of green fields and rivers of crystal clear waters where the splendour of nature is preserved, also offers excellent thermal tourism possibilities. Thanks to the nature of the water in this region, Cantabria is considered a model both for the number of establishments and for the benefits that visitors to the said establishments obtain from their stay. Spas, such as Alceda, Corconte, Las Caldas, La Hermida, Liérganes, Puente Viesgo or Solares, not forgetting the Thalassotherapy Centre at the Hotel Real in Santander provide an excellent selection for enthusiasts of Spa Tourism. Cantabria Infinita, thermal tourism destination Alto Campoo Ski Resort: The best snowpark in the Cantabrica Mountains The Alto Campoo Ski Resort in the Cantábrica Mountains is about 90 kilometres from Santander, very near Reinosa. It lies between altitudes of 1,650 metres and 2,125 metres. There are 23 pistes of which 10 are red, 9 blue and 4 green, as well as over 3 kilometres of connecting routes, a long-distance skiing circuit and a snowpark. In all, almost
28 kilometres open to skiing. Two of the pistes have been approved for competitions. The resort offers 5 chairlifts and 8 ski-lifts capable of transporting 13,100 people per hour. Furthermore, there is a park for children, skiing schools, restaurants, cafeterias... In December 2008, the resort opened the best snowboarding installations on the North Coast of Spain. The said installations include six kickers with different difficulty levels - green, blue and red - that go from 1.5 metres for beginners to 12 metres; a step-up jump, two railings, one flat down box, a flat box and a third up-flat-down box. The heights of the latter range from 4 to 8 metres. (www.altocampoo.com) Cantabria Infinita, white holiday destination Cantabria Infinita Quality Club for Restaurants One way of becoming familiar with a land is sampling its food and, in the case of Cantabria, this is an extremely attractive and pleasant option. The diversity and richness of Cantabriaâ€™s cuisine provides the possibility of enjoying as many dishes as districts exist in the region. Using the Cantabria Infinita Quality Club for Restaurants as a guidebook, one will be able to visit all the districts and sample some of the most typical products in the region. The Cantabria Infinita Quality Club for Restaurants goes one step further in relation to the gastronomic quality of Cantabria. This club includes 45 establishments from all over the region that have entered into a commitment to guarantee that each one of the owners and employees of the said restaurants are constantly trying to provide their customers with pleasant surprises. Extraordinary raw materials, customer service and excellent service levels are only some of the features of these establishments. Each year, the Cantabria Infinita Quality Club renews its catalogue in order to include any new establishments that comply with all the conditions required to be part of this select group of restaurants. (www.calidadcantabria.com) Cantabria Infinita, gastronomic tourism destination
TOURISM NEWS FOR THE BASQUE COUNTRY IN 2009 MARCA BILBAO (BILBAO BRAND) NOVELITIES. Exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and at the Museum of Fine Arts From the programmes of both museums we can highlight the following two exhibitions: Guggenheim: “Cai Guo-Quiang: I want to believe” (17 March-13 September) and “Frank Lloyd Wright”. (20 October-10 January 2010) (www.guggenheim-bilbao.es) Fine Arts: Novecentism and the first avant-garde movement. (2 March-24 May) and Joaquín Mir (1873-1940). Anthology. (11 May-26 July) (www.museobilbao.com) The Euskalduna Jauregia Conference Hall is committed to strengthening its lead by extending its premises by 5,000 square metres, on its 10th anniversary. Opened in February 1999, the Euskalduna Jauregia Conference and Concert Hall will celebrate its 10th anniversary with an outstanding project: extend its installations by 5,000 square metres with a view to consolidating its leading position among conference installations and contribute to the wealth of the Basque economy. In 2008, this conference hall managed a 94% occupation rate, the highest in its history. Today, this excellent 53,000 m2 multipurpose establishment, located in the centre of Bilbao, will be extended by the year 2012 to enable the centre to cater for up to four conferences at the same time. (www.euskalduna.net) The band, Depeche Mode will head the bill at the Bilbao BBK Live 2009 This British group has confirmed its presence at the oldest festival in the city; a festival that has always programmed high quality music with concerts including Iron Maiden, Police, Mandes or Metallica. The festival will take place on Mount Kobetamendi and will be held on 9th July this year, which is the date programmed for the performance of Depeche Mode, as part of their 2009 world tour, and as an opportunity to present their new record. (www.bilbaobbklive.com) Taste of Bilbao, an open air gastronomic festival The open air gastronomic festival, Taste of Bilbao, will gather prestigious cooks from Vizcaya and about fifty excellent food companies. Visitors will be able to enjoy a number of events, as well as sample and purchase the products being exhibited. It will be held from 11 to 14 June at the Maritime Museum. (www.bilbao.net) NOVELTIES CONNECTED WITH THE SAN SEBASTIAN TOURISM BRAND The San Sebastian Aquarium will be refurbished in the year of its centenary. The San Sebastián Aquarium, which is 100 years old, has embarked on a new phase by refurbishing its installations and undertaking new projects connected with biology and museum science, as well as an educational programme for visitors. Consequently, the new Sea Centre will include a reinforced structure and an updated museum presentation system that will integrate the aquariums with the naval and natural science sections. (www.aquariumss.com) La Perla Talaso-sport: the largest urban thalassotherapy centre in Europe will be reopening to display its renewed installations. The La Perla Thalassotherapy Centre, where sea water is used to provide relaxing and physical invigoration treatments has refurbished its installations, providing them with state-of-the-art technology as well as a wide range of new treatments and services. Among these, we can highlight its thalassotherapy circuit, its beauty parlour and its gymnasium. The gastronomic offer has also been improved. (www.laperla.net)
NOVELTIES CONNECTED WITH THE VITORIA TOURISM BRAND Opening of the “Ataria” nature interpretation centre Ataria, the Vitoria-Gasteiz nature interpretation centre, will open this spring. Located in one of the most valuable wetland areas in the Basque Country, the Salburua wetlands, it is one of the parks that form part of the city’s green belt. (www.vitoria-gasteiz.org) Opening of the new archaeological museum of Alava, a project by the architect, Patxi Mangado Located in the old quarters of the city, this modern building, both from the point of view of its design and the materials used, will house the magnificent archaeological collection of Álava. It is, together with the Card Museum, a significant tourist attraction in Vitoria-Gasteiz (www.alavaturismo.com) XV National Author Cuisine Congress Vitoria-Gasteiz will once again organise this important state congress dedicated to author cuisine. The best cooks in the country will gather in the city from the 20th to the 23rd of April. (www.vitoria-gasteiz.org) NOVELTIES CONNECTED WITH THE BERDEA TOURISM BRAND The Ekain, Altxerri and Santimamiñe Caves, world heritage sites. Last July, UNESCO declared these caves, together with another fourteen in the north of Spain, World Heritage Sites. These cave art sanctuaries are the most representative examples of Palaeolithic cave art in the north of Spain. Although the Basque caves are closed to the public in order to preserve the paintings, Ekain Cave features a replica at a short distance from the original cave that will enable visitors to enjoy this prehistoric sanctuary without damaging the original works that form one of the best cave art collections in Europe, with figures of animals that were painted approximately 13,000 years ago in the Magdalenian period by human beings just like ourselves. (www.ekainberri.com) New Basque MTB centre. Debabarrena (Gipuzkoa) The third Basque MTB Centre, the first in Gipuzkoa, which opened last summer, is located in the district of Debabarrena, between Gipuzkoa and Bizkaia, and only 30 minutes from the capitals of the Basque Autonomous Region. The coastal strip, with geological formations (flysch) considered as some of the most interesting at world level and the intense green of the mountains surprise visitors who wish to ride their mountain bikes along the 14 different routes with different difficulty levels that total 360 km. (www.paisvascoturismo.net)
NOVELTIES CONNECTED WITH THE RIOJA ALAVESA TOURIST BRAND The enobús, a new competitive tool for the Rioja Alavesa Wine Route The Rioja Alavesa Wine Route has introduced a new element aimed at making a difference and competing with other tourist wine routes: the ‘Enobús’ or tourist bus. The main purpose of this service is to increase the flow of visitors by offering original tourism products that provide an overall view of the assets of the district. In order to compete with other tourist destinations in general and wine tourist routes in particular, it is necessary to innovate and update proposals, while simultaneously maintaining higher quality standards. The Enobus is based on these premises. (www.rutadelvinoriojaalavesa.com)
NOVELTIES CONNECTED WITH THE BASQUE COAST TOURIST BRAND The Mutriku-Deba-Zumaia Flysh Route (Gipuzkoa) Guided and interpretation tours of the geological-tourist route of the coastal towns of Mutriku, Deba and Zumaia, allow visitors to become familiar with the different strata of hard and soft rocks that form the ‘flysh’, a natural strata system that attracts many geologists and enthusiasts to the coast line between Mutriku and Zumaia. (www.begibistan.com) Madariaga Tower - The Interpretation Centre of the Urdaibai Humanity Biosphere Preserve The Basque Biodiversity Centre - Madariaga Tower is a singular building with a purpose: promote conservation and the sustainable use of Biodiversity as well as promoting awareness. Located in a geo-strategic site from where the entire Urdaibai estuary (Biosphere Reserve) can be seen, it was probably built in the XV century as a tower house with defensive functions typical of the times. Today, it offers a way of disseminating information and promoting awareness; a meeting place and an environmental reference point. (www.torremadariaga.org)
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