The Costa del Sol Elite Collection has been created to sell the most exclusive transport, hotels, leisure and excursions
The Costa del Sol is returning to its original roots, when it was a favourite tourist destination for high society and Royalty, and it is promoting its most luxurious attractions to markets with such great potential as Russia, the Persian Gulf countries and the U.S.A. The president of the Tourist Board, Elías Bendodo, recently presented details of the Costa del Sol Elite Collection, which is aimed at bringing together tour operators and travel clubs for those with high purchasing power, transport, accommodation, leisure and the most select excursions.
Marbella will be the standard bearer of this product which will include private aircraft companies, chauffeur-driven cars, luxury hotels and beach clubs and individually-designed trips to places of interest in Malaga province. This will be a new way of attracting magnates and high-ranking executives and will position the Costa del Sol as Spain’s third luxury tourism destination. “We will be the third corner of the triangle of the Spanish luxury sector, with Madrid and Barcelona”, explained Mr. Bendodo.
The Costa del Sol Elite Collection will be officially presented in March at the Arabian Travel Market tourism fair and then at events which feature the most exclusive tourist attractions, such as the fair in Las Vegas in August and the ILTM in the French resort of Cannes.
Mr. Bendodo says this new strategy will also include familiarisation trips for agents from Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and India; the latter, together with China, are the main markets to which this exclusive product will be marketed in the medium term.
The Tourist Board is working with operators who specialise in luxury tourism, such as Latitud4 and La Vida es Bella, groups whose clients tend to be professionals between the ages of 30 and 40, who demand a personalised service when they go abroad and who are prepared to pay an average of 3,000 euros for their holidays although some will spend as much as 50,000. “It is an opportunity we cannot miss. Quality and safety are the two indispensable factors for these clients and the Costa has them both”, explains the president of the Tourist Board. The destination will also be part of Virtuoso, the luxury tourism network which is only available by invitation; it will cost about 40,000 euros for the Costa del Sol to benefit from the services of its 300 agencies, with six thousand agents in 22 different countries and about a thousand suppliers who specialise in these high level travellers. “Being part of this network is fundamental to having your own stamp as a luxury destination, and at the moment that only applies to Madrid, Barcelona and the Basque Country “, explained Elías Bendodo.
The Tourist Board plans to create literature exclusively for this product and is contemplating ‘door to door’ activities via specialist agencies in different cities in Russia, the Persian Gulf and the U.S.A. Mr. Bendodo explained that the decision to redefine the luxury attractions of the Costa was not taken lightly but was in response to the recommendation of Spanish international tourism offices, who will now promote the new brand among worldwide travel agencies and international specialist media.
The president of the Tourist Board also said that Costa del Sol Elite Collection will cultivate a sector which has a great deal to offer and which has existed for some time, but it will reposition the area as a high quality destination, reinforcing its image and its prestige. It will also encourage tourism out of peak season. He explained that Russia, the Persian Gulf countries and the U.S.A. were chosen because they are markets in which the Costa del Sol brand is well known and linked to exclusive attractions. Also, last year there was a growth in visitors from these countries: 50 per cent more Russians, 40 per cent more from Arab countries and almost 14 per cent more Americans. The luxury sector is not affected by fluctuations in the economic situation and in Spain it ended last year with sales of more than 4,500 million euros and the number of overnight stays in five-star hotels rose by 20 per cent. The Costa has the greatest number of luxury hotels in Spain. “This shows the potential of this sector and that is why the Costa del Sol, as a leading destination, has to conquer its share of that market”, he said. Mr. Bendodo pointed out that luxury on the Costa del Sol began in Marbella, and thanks to visionaries such as Alfonso de Hohenlohe, it acquired worldwide fame. In the 1950s it was high society and European royalty who gave this sector the prestige which led to the Costa becoming what it is today. Other important factors were the presence of the Saudi Arabian royal family and the construction of Puerto Banús. After years of package holidays, the Costa is being polished up once again to shine on the map of the most exclusive tourism.
source: sur in english
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