ANDREU SERRA

Spain 2021 | TOURISM | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Andreu Serra, Mallorca Minister of Tourism and Sports & President of Fundació Mallorca Turisme, about tourism in the island, attracting film and TV productions, and moving past the pandemic through the creation of a more sustainable industry.

What role does Fundació Mallorca Turisme play in the internationally renowned tourism industry of Mallorca?

Mallorca is a leading tourist destination, and the Fundació Mallorca Turisme, together with the island's government, is committed to making it more well-known around the world. We are working to be smarter and more sustainable in tourism as well as implement improvements in terms of health and safety. We have an important alliance with the United Nations World Tourism Organization, which has given us a certificate of excellence. Mallorca is also member of the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO). Our objective is to make this better known across Mallorca to further engage our private tourism sector. Regarding Mallorca joining the network of world observatories of sustainable tourism, it is worth mentioning that there are currently 32. However, Mallorca is the first one to apply tourism intelligence across its entire development. Fundació Mallorca Turisme is also heavily engaged in the promotion of alternative tourism products beyond the sun and sea. Mallorca has a great offering for nautical tourism, gastronomy, congresses, conventions, and as an audiovisual destination. Mallorca is a leading destination in many aspects and can have tourist coverage 365 days a year.

What will be the role of sustainability in the tourism economic model that Mallorca is heading to, and what type of tourism product diversification will be required to achieve so?

Public and private initiatives agree that tourism must be sustainable, and the initiatives that have been taken are aimed at achieving these goals. The observatory is a space to make known everything that is being done in sustainability in Mallorca, though it also helps us understand the work we have left to do and where we need to go. The transition to sustainability must follow a specific process, and it must not only be environmental, but also economic and social. The diversification of our tourism offering is vital in order to reach a more sustainable model. As our climate and location are the most attractive thing for tourists, the public administration is working on adding value to that. The average tourist who comes to the beach also needs to find reasons to play sports such as golf or learn more about the local culture and gastronomy. In the sports arena, for example, golf has great potential, as Mallorca has 24 golf courses. Mallorca is already a global leader in nautical tourism, attracting world competitions. To sum up, economic diversification must be based, as a fundamental idea, on the main product. We must take advantage of our core and, from there, diversify our business.

What would be competitive edge of Mallorca to become a leading destination for film and TV. How can it attract world-class productions?

Mallorca is currently attracting many productions. In fact, a film was recently shot on the island, and movies by great directors will start filming soon. Many producers are interested in Mallorca because of our weather conditions and our beautiful location on the Mediterranean, coupled with a great infrastructure and connectivity with Europe. The development of the audiovisual industry in Mallorca is essential. We have great spaces for the filming of adverts, series, and movies. We are extremely interested in big platforms wanting to shoot in Mallorca. However, in order to achieve this, we need to develop further infrastructure or give financial support to the sector. The development that the European Next Generation projects will bring is also important in this regard, and this has a great deal to do with transformation of the tourism model of Mallorca that we are aiming for.

In the context of the reactivation of tourism, what measures have been adopted to ensure that the everyday tourist feels that it is safe to visit Mallorca?

We have been working with the government of the Balearic Islands to bring the pandemic under control. This allowed us to have a better monitoring of those affected by the pandemic, while reducing the pressure on medical facilities. In addition, there are extremely exhaustive measures throughout the entire Majorcan tourism value chain, which all means we have few cases in comparison to the volume of tourists we receive. In the event that a tourist tests positive, the regional government facilitates a hotel for isolation at no cost. The message that we want to convey is that they will be safer in Mallorca than in their hometowns. Looking forward, it is necessary to work on measures to avoid concentrations of young people in leisure activities that could increase the number of infections on the island.