SPAIN - Tourism
Director General, Fundació Turisme Palma 365
Pedro Homar is head of Fundació Turisme Palma 365, a public-private body that acts as the destination marketing organization for the municipality of Palma. FTPM365 currently has two public trustees (the city council and the port) and 15 private trustees, representing the four main sectors of tourist activity: transport (air and sea), accommodation, tour operators, and specialized tourist offerings. Homar has more than 19 years of experience leading marketing and communication strategies and 11 years in positions of international responsibility and work experience in Europe and Latin America, managing transnational teams of up to 40 people
The joint effort of the local private and public sectors, Fundació Turisme Palma 365 seeks to position Palma as a year-round urban vacation spot for discerning visitors.
What does Palma mean for the island’s tourism, and how has the positioning of Palma— and with it Mallorca—changed over time?
It is a piece that is not understood separately. Palma contributes to the tourist positioning and the tourism strategy of Mallorca as a whole, considering that the city is a year-round urban destination, open 12 months of the year. During the pre-pandemic period, Mallorca closed with 14 million tourists, according to official data. In 2019, we received 2.2 million cruise passengers, 1.2 million tourists slept at least one night in Palma, as well as 4 million tourists who were staying in other areas of Mallorca but came on day trips to Palma. Palma has 40,000 beds, the second highest after Calvià, and 90% of those in Palma are four stars or higher. There is no destination in Spain with a concentration of tourist and hotel product of four stars and above. Almost the entire hotel offerings are modern, renewed, and of quality. We are a premium, cosmopolitan destination for a client looking for urban vacation experiences whose main focus and interest is contemporary art, gastronomy, and the enjoyment of a city, because Palma is of a manageable size, where you can walk everywhere, but with spectacular services. The approach of restoration in the city is impressive. For a capital of almost half a million inhabitants, what the city offers is impressive.
What is your assessment of the recovery of the tourism industry of the city of Palma?
Palma started the whole process of repositioning the destination 10 years ago. In fact, 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of Fundació Turisme Palma 365, with the mission to articulate an organization that allows a real public and private collaboration and a strategy around what is all the tourist activity 12 months a year, while ensuring long-term planning for the city’s tourism activity regardless of the political context over the years. The main aim is to position the destination as urban vacation spot for long weekend city breaks, within two and a half hours maximum direct flight time. Our backbone is this: we are an urban holiday weekend destination allyear round. Regarding COVID-19, when people could travel, reservations really boomed. In the summer of 2021, we saw occupation levels close to 80%, thanks to our strong brand, promise of value understood, and quality and price ratio. We were able to create a safe environment in which customers felt safe. Palma has recovered quickly and much faster than other areas of Mallorca. For June, July, and August 2022, we already have a 75% of committed occupation, and we expect to reach 90%. Palma currently has occupancies at 85% in the city, and the beach area of Palma is at 45% at the moment. In the end, this demonstrates the resilience of the brand and the sector, a job well done not only on our part but also on the part of the private sector. In other words, we have a fantastic private sector.
How is Palma gaining prominence to attract more long-haul tourists and reduce its dependence on nearby European markets?
In 2019, we had a strategy plan for the east coast of the US, though plans were put on hold because of COVID-19. For us, the cities of Chicago, New York, and Miami are interesting markets to attract tourists. Palma receives nearly 90,000 Americans annually, without any real promotion activity. They had visited Palma through cruises and had come back, and they were really interested in boutique hotels as well as the five-star hotels in Palma. Many of the boutique hotels in Palma are either Relais & Châteaux, Virtuoso, or part of the Amex Travel network. Soon, Palma will have direct flights to the US. We will intensify our promotional activities in New York and better capitalize on this market.
SPAIN - Real Estate & Construction
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