UAE - Tourism
Councilor for Tourism and Moratalaz, Madrid City Council
Almudena Maillo has a degree in business sciences, specializing in financial management and accounting from the Complutense University of Madrid. Currently, she is the delegate councilor for Tourism of the Madrid City Council, general secretary of the Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities (UCCI), and president councilor of the Moratalaz district. From 2015 to 2019, she was a councilor of the Madrid City Council in the popular municipal group; (2013-2015) president councilor of the district of San Blas-Canillejas; president councilor in the district of Hortaleza (2012-2013); general director of early childhood and primary education (2011-2012); director general of Tourism Madrid (2007-2011); advisor to the Cabinet of the Presidency of the Community of Madrid (2005-2007); and technician in the General Directorate of External Relations (2003-2005).
"Madrid is going to redouble its efforts in [the UAE] to attract visitors from this great source of international tourism."
Where is Madrid’s tourism model headed?
The pandemic has accelerated the process of changing the concept of urban tourism and, like other destinations, we seek differentiation from the previous stage based on three levels: digitization, sustainability and communication of the destination as an experience. These three axes define and design the objectives and plans in the medium and long term, especially in sustainability and differentiating experiences.
What specifically does the destination of experiences consist of?
Madrid is transcending the world because it has intangible value that we still do not value enough. That is the treasure and the differentiating character of the Madrid destination. This life encompasses the differentiating experiences that make it unique for tourists, and very attractive for business events, a segment with a professionalized and differentiating offer. We value the historical and cultural heritage of the city, as well as its authenticity. The visitor experience is a process that begins in the prescription phase, trying to excite the traveler so that they decide to come to our city, later offering, in the planning phase, a great offer adapted to their needs and preferences and taking great care of the “ delivery,” that is, exceeding their expectations thanks to the service excellence of the entire value chain. Our visitors must be our best prescribers.
How does Madrid aspire to be a sustainable destination?
We work together with the private sector to achieve a neutral carbon footprint. In addition to disseminating and putting ourselves at the service of companies to achieve this goal, we have particularly placed ourselves at the forefront of destinations with an innovative tool: the PLUS platform (Platform Legacy with US), which allows the organizers of any event in the city to know the impact of its activities while offering ideas and solutions to mitigate it and contribute to making it more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. On the other hand, the city of Madrid is already applying CO2 emission control policies with the creation of “low emission zones,” the minimization of the environmental impact of large events with the Air Quality Ordinance, the pedestrianization of urban spaces, the promotion of electric mobility, and the extension of its green areas. Sustainability is a transversal element. For this reason, another of our challenges is the decentralization of tourism, expanding the tourist footprint to other districts of the capital, beyond the center, and creating inspiring and interesting routes through those spaces. It is about guiding the visitor to lesser-known areas but with high potential while promoting local products and local trade. To this end, we have developed, and we will continue to do so, actions and campaigns that publicize neighborhoods in the capital that are not so well known but have great tourist value, highlighting new spaces in the capital that have been transformed, from Madrid Río to the new Plaza de España, and carrying out projects such as “Made in Madrid” to promote Madrid crafts, local, and responsible production.
What actions is the city of Madrid developing in the UAE and what is the purpose?
Last February we participated in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in a trade mission together with the Spanish Association of Luxury Spain. We made presentations to important luxury tourism travel agencies and prescribers in both cities and held institutional meetings, as well as with the media and influencers. In addition, in May we have been present at the ILTM Arabia Fair in Dubai, and carried out a FAM trip in collaboration with the Spanish Tourist Office in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Airlines. We have also carried out several marketing actions together with Qatar Airways, as well as a campaign in lifestyle and business magazines. The objective of all this is to publicize this diversification of the Madrid destination to encourage the choice of the capital over other European destinations, being a benchmark of high-impact tourism that directly contributes to the increase in stay and average spending in our city. The UAE is one of the leading markets in this new tourist stage that the capital is approaching. Madrid is going to redouble its efforts in this region to attract visitors from this great source of international tourism, taking advantage of the excellent connectivity of the capital with the main countries in the area and the competitive, heterogeneous, and quality offer that it offers its citizens.
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