London,
18
November
2014
|
17:08
Europe/Amsterdam

WHAT'S NEW IN SPAIN FOR 2015

Spain continues to be Britain’s favourite tourist destination and 2014 has been no exception. Over the coming year the destination is set to continue to expand and evolve, with new cultural hotspots and trails, exciting hotel launches and flight routes, and a host of original festivals and events.

HOTEL NEWS

Ayre Hotel Group to launch Madrid Atocha property

Palladium Hotel Group is expanding in Madrid with a new property under its urban brand, Ayre Hoteles, scheduled to open at the end of 2015. The new four-star 215-room hotel will be a conversion of a building that faces Atocha station, one of the city’s major transportation hubs. At just a few metres from Madrid’s main station and within walking distance of the best city attractions, its strategic location will be ideal for visitors arriving by train, who can then explore the city on foot. www.ayrehoteles.com

New hotels to open in Valencia to suit all budgets

Valencia-based Ad Hoc hotel group is also opening a third hotel in the city, which will be named the Ad Hoc Carmen and is due to open at the end of 2014. The property is set to offer excellent value for the family and group travel markets. www.adhochoteles.com

New luxury hotel to open in Palma de Mallorca

Scheduled to open in March 2015, Hotel Sant Francesc is an exciting conversion of an old manor house into a luxury boutique hotel in the historic centre of Palma de Mallorca. The 43-room chic urban bolthole, which will form part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World™, sets out to retain the beauty of the former building and blends graceful simplicity with a distinctly Spanish style. Its five-star facilities comprise a rooftop terrace with a pool, patio bar, garden restaurant, gym and spa. www.slh.com

URSO Hotel & Spa in Madrid launches “The Table By…”

This pop-up restaurant of sorts is an entirely unique concept on Madrid’s dining scene and complements the innovative and newly opened URSO Hotel & Spa perfectly. “The Table By…” will see a rotating schedule of six well-established and up and coming young Spanish chefs from different corners of the country take up temporary residency in the hotel restaurant to re-create their own restaurants in the heart of Madrid. As each restaurant arrives, everything will change – the design, the concept and the menu. www.thetableby.es

Grand Palladium White Island Resort & Spa to launch in Ibiza’s Playa d’en Bossa

The Grand Palladium White Island Resort & Spa will open in spring 2015 under Palladium Hotel Group’s five-star portfolio. The new hotel will be a transformation of the former Fiesta Club Palm Beach into a 430-room luxury hotel, boasting ultra-modern décor and a Mediterranean design. When combined with neighbouring Grand Palladium Palace Ibiza Resort & Spa, the two hotels will create a new complex, the largest in Ibiza. www.palladiumhotelgroup.com

CAMPAIGN NEWS

Andalucía launches new marketing campaign

The Andalucía tourist board has launched an exciting new brand campaign. Under the strapline “Your better you”, the popular Spanish region strives to refresh and reinvigorate its image by consolidating the emotional and experiential facets of the destination. The campaign highlights Andalucia’s key points of difference, focusing on the following themes; emotion, fun, spontaneity and optimism. The campaign comprises a film aimed at both national and international tourists, as well as an aggressive print, outdoor, broadcast and digital advertising strategy. www.andalucia.org.

CULTURE NEWS

Pompidou Centre to open in Malaga

The first ever “Pop up Pompidou” will open its doors in the city of Malaga in spring 2015. The new Pompidou Centre will be the first international branch of the French museum of the same name and is scheduled to stay for five years in the Cubo building, a cultural centre built on the city’s harbour. The Malaga Pompidou Centre will comprise over 6,000 square metres of exhibition space housing both permanent and temporary exhibitions including works by Picasso, Tàpies, Ernst, Attia, Bacon, Magritte and Frida Kahlo. www.malagaturismo.com

Extremadura launches the “jamón trail”

Gourmands look out – this could be the itinerary for you! Inspired by the popularity of Spain’s very special ham, the Extremadura Tourist Board has launched a new touristic route that allows foodies to indulge in the best of the region’s ham. Uniting the Sierras de Badajoz and the region of Montánchez-Tamuja in Cáceres, the “Dehesa de Extremadura” gives tourists access to the key jamón producers in the region, and in addition to many different tastings, they will learn how the jamón is produced, visit the drying cellars, learn how to cut ham like a pro and see how the production of this ever-important ingredient is valued in the local ecosystems. Along the way, visitors will stay in charming towns, go walking, horse riding and cycling among the grasslands and slow down to the leisurely Extremeño pace of life. www.dehesa-extremadura.com/index.php/en/

El Hierro declared UNESCO Geopark

The Canary Island of El Hierro has been declared a Geopark by UNESCO following a successful application by Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism in collaboration with the local council, making it the 60th member of the European Geoparks Network. UNESCO granted the title thanks to the island’s Biosphere Reserve and six protected natural areas that cover 60% of its land mass, including the Integrated Marine Reserve – Mar de las Calmas. www.geoparqueelhierro.es

Irrisarri Land, a new concept of rural tourism in Navarra

Irrisarri Land, which opened its doors this year, is home to the longest zip line in Spain, a pendulum swing and a 140 metre-long rope bride, as well as a bike park, adventure routes, downhill tracks and even a heliport for those who wish to take to the skies and get a real bird’s eye view of the region. A truly sustainable destination, the park has been designed with the utmost sensitivity for the local area and has been built using only local materials, such as wood, iron and stone. This is the perfect location for a fun-filled family weekend in Northern Spain. http://www.irrisarriland.com/

Culture on the Basque Coast

As well as exploring the beautiful towns and indulging in the excellent food for which it is famous for, a trip along the Basque Coast can also incorporate masses of art and culture thanks to a new network of museums that are facilitating travel for art lovers in the region. This unique network comprises a total of 40 cultural establishments from Bilbao and its surrounds in the west along to Irun in the east. The trail visits iconic cities such as San Sebastián, as well as taking in charming fishing villages such as Lekeitio, Bermeo and Bakio, and historic landmarks such as the town of Gernika. Along the way visitors can delve into art galleries, cultural museums, bird centres and aquariums, and really gain an understanding of what makes this captivating coastline what it is today. www.losmuseosdelacostavasca.com

TRANSPORT NEWS

British Airways launches new flights to Bilbao from spring 2015

British Airways has announced the launch of a brand new double daily service between London Heathrow and the vibrant city of Bilbao. The route launches on 29 March 2015 and will depart twice daily at 9.20am and 16.05pm, returning at 13.05pm and 19.40pm. www.ba.com

Monarch Airlines announces new flights to Alicante for summer 2015

Monarch Airlines has announced the launch of a new route from Leeds Bradford Airport to Alicante for summer 2015. The new route forms part of the airline’s summer schedule which features flights to ten different sun and city destinations across Europe and 28 frequencies per week. Alicante was one of just two new destinations for the airline to add for summer 2015. www.monarch.co.uk

Murcia launches Tourist Bus

The city of Murcia has just launched its first ever tourist bus that takes visitors round the highlights of the old town and the El Carmen and San Andres neighbourhood. The bus follows a 45 minute, 8km route through the city with an audio guide picking out the key sights and historical landmarks available in 10 different languages. The bus has six different stops; Murcia Town Hall, the Salzillo Museum, shopping district, Floridablanca gardens, La Merced and Gran Via-Alfonso X. Tickets are hop-on, hop-off and are valid for 24 hours. The city estimates taking 20,000 tourists on the bus in its first year. www.turismodemurcia.es

Discover Spain for less with RENFE’s Spain Pass

Spain’s pioneering rail network counts the UK as its most important international market, accounting for 17% of ticket sales. Foreign visitors planning to visit Spain can take advantage of the Renfe Spain Pass - a product only available for foreign residents that allows travellers to take between four and 12 trips on High Speed Long Distance trains for an extremely competitive price. The pass also includes lots of added value, such as discounts on entry to museums and tourist cards. www.renfe.com

British Airways launches new flights to Fuerteventura for winter 2014

British Airways has launched a new short-haul route which will run from London Gatwick to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. Flights are now on sale for the new route, which commences on 13 December as part of their winter 2014 programme. The twice-weekly service will run on Wednesdays and Saturdays and allow tourists to visit the second biggest Canary Island direct from London Gatwick. www.ba.com

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

The Canary Islands hosts pop-up London art exhibition

A unique way of illustrating the diverse beauty of the Canary Islands, ‘On the draw, an illustrated journey to the Canary Islands’ is a six night pop-up art exhibition, taking place in Canvas Studios in Shoreditch. Featuring art work from seven well-known illustrators from across the globe, each piece represents the distinct personal views and landscapes of the Canary Islands documented during the artists’ respective one week stays on the islands. The exhibition opens on 3 November until 9 November. http://www.onthedraw.travel/

Tenerife launches its first walking festival

Tenerife’s highly anticipated Walking Festival will take place from 10-15 March 2015 and aims to showcase the Canary Island’s varied landscape and spring-like year-round temperature (an average of 23ºC), all of which make it the perfect place for hiking. Visitors can traverse over 1,500 km of paths on walks suitable for all ages and levels. The four-day event, which takes place in the north of the island in Puerto de la Cruz, is open to everyone and participants are required to pay a €20 joining fee to access a welcome pack, daily transport to each trail, a wristband that gives discounts in local shops, restaurants and museums and free nightly entertainment. www.tenerifewalkingfestival.com

Bilbao to host first UCLG summit in 2015

The UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments) has chosen Bilbao as the host city of the first ever UCLG Culture Summit in 2015, in which over 250 leaders and international culture experts are expected to attend. The summit will be celebrated between January and April 2015 and Bilbao was chosen as the ideal host city given culture’s vital role in the city’s development strategy since the early 90’s when it began its major economic and urban transformation. www.bilbaointernational.com

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Balearic Islands to launch “Virtual Host”

2015 will see the Balearic Islands become the first destination in the world with a “Virtual Host” to guide and accompany visitors, residents and businesspeople, giving them the information they need when they need it. This innovative information system will enable visitors to access tailored information, make travel plans or hone their itineraries and share their experiences on social media. Different visitors will be served up different content depending on their interests and according to their profile, nationality and the time of year they plan to visit, ensuring that winter visitors are just as well catered for as summer ones. The technology will be launched in its entirety during FITUR at the end of January 2015.

 

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Kate McWilliams
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