Emirates Signs MoU For Spanish Tourism Push

The agreement comes as Spain seeks to revive its travel and tourism industry, which represented about 14% of the country’s GDP before the pandemic.

Credit: Rob Finlayson

Dubai-based Emirates has partnered with the Spanish tourism institute Turespaña to help drive trade and tourism to Spain.

The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop closer ties and explore the potential for further connectivity. The agreement includes trade familiarization trips, workshops and marketing campaigns.

Emirates began serving Madrid (MAD) in 2010 and Barcelona (BCN) two years later. The carrier also added a Dubai-Mexico City (MEX) route in 2019, flying via Barcelona.

“Emirates launched operations to Spain more than 12 years ago and the country remains an important market in our global network,” Emirates divisional SVP of international affairs Majid Al Mualla said.

“We’re very happy to be exploring mutually beneficial initiatives that will drive tourism to Spain, and also offer Emirates more opportunities to serve the market.”

Emirates currently offers 10 flights per week to Barcelona—five of which continue to Mexico City—and nine services per week to Madrid using Airbus A380 aircraft. The airline also has interline agreements in place with Air Europa, Iberia and Vueling for onward connections within Spain.

Spain’s travel and tourism industry was worth $200 billion in 2019, equivalent to about 14.3% of the national GDP. However, the country has been hit hard by the pandemic, with the annual number of tourists falling from almost 84 million in 2019 to 18.9 million in 2020.

Although the sector fared better last year with 31.1 million arrivals, the figure nevertheless represents a drop of 63% compared with pre-pandemic levels. Spain’s government had previously hoped to see 45 million foreign visitors in 2021.

“We are happy to sign this MoU between Emirates and Tourspain to further collaborate on improving the connectivity with Spain,” said Daniel Rosado Bayon, director of Spanish tourism in the GCC and Iran. “We are starting to see a recovery of the routes to Spain and we have agreed to work closer to promote our outstanding destination.”

Meanwhile, Emirates has confirmed it will make a full return of passenger services to and from Casablanca (CMN) from Feb. 8. The return of the Moroccan city marks a full restoration of the carrier’s pre-pandemic African network, including 21 cities spread across the continent.

Flights between Dubai (DXB) and Casablanca will operate daily using Boeing 777-300ERs, departing from the emirate at 7.30 a.m. and arriving in Casablanca at 1.15 p.m. The return service departs at 3.05 p.m. and returns to Dubai at 1.30 a.m. the following day.