Spain Opens Doors, Hearts to Canadians

Bárbara Couto and Alegria Narvaez, Trade and Travel Manager with the Tourist Office of Spain
Bárbara Couto and Alegria Narvaez, Trade and Travel Manager with the Tourist Office of Spain

So great to see events happening in person again! That was definitely the vibe at a breakfast hosted Thursday by the Tourist Office of Spain in Mississauga. The first of three events (the others will be in Markham and Montreal), the in-person event gave tourist office reps the chance to bring agents up to date on COVID restrictions for the country, and an overview of Spain’s legendary attractions.

First, the protocols. Currently, Canadians must be fully-vaccinated (i.e. two shots) to enter the country. If the last vaccination was more than 270 days prior to travel (approximately 9 months) then they must have proof of a booster. Additionally, as of April 20, masks are no longer mandatory apart from on public transit and in healthcare settings. And good to know: 85% of Spaniards have received 2 vaccinations. Find out more at travelsafe.spain.info.

Lucky Michelle Vuong of Latitude Concierge Travels won the door prize of a basket of edible Spanish goodies
Lucky Michelle Vuong of Latitude Concierge Travels won the door prize of a basket of edible Spanish goodies

Next, the many pleasures of Spain! As Bárbara Couto, Consul for Tourism Affairs told the group, Spain is the ideal destination for a host of clients. Culture buffs? Golfers? Beach lovers? Tick, tick, tick.

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And Spain is a great recommendation for foodie clients. With some 25,000 restaurants (including over 200 of which are Michelin starred) in a country just about the size of Alberta, Spain is never short of pleasures of the table. Wine is so popular with visitors that there are “wine routes” to explore a variety of vineyards. There’s even a chocolate route for the client with a sweet tooth!

Of course the country boasts a rich legacy of culture and heritage, with 60 museums in Madrid alone. (2023 will mark the 50th anniversary of the death of the Spanish artist Picasso, and many events are scheduled to mark that.) Nature lovers are drawn to the 53 biosphere reserves and 15 national parks.

Clients looking for a bucket list experience will want to stay at one of the 94 legendary Paradores: castles, palaces, convents and fortresses re-imagined as sophisticated hotels.

And when it comes to getting around, the tourism authorities recommend the highspeed rail system. From Madrid to Barcelona? A mere 2 hours 40 minutes.

A wonderful way to explore all of Spain!

Martha Chapman

Columnist

An OJ columnist since 2006, Martha is responsible for the Biting Questions series as well as special seasonal series. She can often be seen On The Town covering industry events. Known to all in the biz, Martha has worked her entire career in travel, beginning as a teenaged hotel receptionist in Bermuda.

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