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Murcia is one of Spain’s major tourist regions benefiting from renewed summer travel optimism following the UK announcement of a roadmap out of lockdown. British prime minister Boris Johnson reported that, on 12 April, a travel task-force would unveil plans to lift the ban on non-essential foreign travel, thus enabling people to “plan for summer”,… Read more about UK Roadmap Boosts Demand for Spanish Summer Holidays The post UK Roadmap Boosts Demand for Spanish Summer Holidays...
Murcia is one of Spain’s major tourist regions benefiting from renewed summer travel optimism following the UK announcement of a roadmap out of lockdown. British prime minister Boris Johnson reported that, on 12 April, a travel task-force would unveil plans to lift the ban on non-essential foreign travel, thus enabling people to “plan for summer”, although the earliest date for lifting restrictions will be 17 May.
This led to several leading companies that operate at Corvera Airport Murcia – including TUI, EasyJet and Jet2.com – reporting a surge in bookings for such popular destinations as Murcia and the region’s Costa Cálida seaside resorts.
Responding to Johnson’s statement, ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said, “This sets an ambition to get people travelling before the summer – which will not only be crucial for travel businesses whose revenues have been wiped out, but also for the millions of people who are desperate to travel again, whether to see friends and relatives based overseas or for a much-needed holiday.
“We are pleased to see the government has responded to our calls to engage with industry on a specific roadmap for travel, and we welcome that the global travel taskforce will reconvene to work with ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) and the wider travel industry on a plan for re-opening travel.”
By then, the Spanish government is also expected to have eased its air and sea restrictions for travellers from the UK – currently in force until 16 March.
In an official statement commenting on the roadplan, TUI UK and Ireland managing director Andrew Flintham said there was huge demand to travel, with Spain among the countries leading the way with bookings up 500 per cent overnight.
“The announcement… shows that by working with the travel industry on a risk-based framework our customers will have the opportunity to travel abroad this summer. We will continue to work closely with the government so people can look forward to a well-deserved break away, after what has been a very difficult year for many.
“In line with the UK government’s latest lockdown announcement, all TUI holidays from England will not operate before 17 May. We will be contacting impacted customers directly, in departure date order, to discuss their options, which will include amending to a later date with an incentive or cancelling and receiving a full refund.
“We know our customers are looking forward to their holidays, so to offer continued flexibility and reassurance we have extended our free changes policy to the end of June. Those due to travel between 17 May and the end of June can change their booking to a later date fee-free.”
EasyJet also reported a surge in UK bookings within hours of Johnson’s announcement. Flight bookings for the summer season increased by 337 per cent and EasyJet Holidays bookings rose 630 per cent week on week. Beach resorts such as Costa Cálida were among the top destinations for summer travel in August, followed by July and September.
“We have consistently seen that there is pent-up demand for travel,” said EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren, “and this surge in bookings shows that this signal from the government that it plans to re-open travel has been what UK consumers have been waiting for.
“Our ‘Protection Promise’ means that customers can book with confidence knowing that, if they are unable to travel or their plans change, so can their flights or holiday. We’ve put more flights and holidays on sale this summer to even more destinations, so that customers have more choice to book something to look forward to.
“And, while the summer may be a little while off, we will be working around the clock to ensure we will be ready to ramp up our flights to reconnect friends and family or take them on a long-awaited holiday to remember.”
Meanwhile, data reported by Jet2.com and Jet2holidays showed that summer 2021 bookings increased more than 1,000 per cent in the 24 hours following the announcement, with bookings continuing to surge for destinations across the board including mainland Spain.
“We have seen enormous pent-up demand from British holidaymakers for some time,” said CEO Steve Heapy, “with people wanting nothing more than to get away to the sunshine and enjoy their well-deserved holidays. The government’s announcement is the news they have been longing for, and the continued surge in bookings shows how ready our customers are to get away to the sunshine on a real package holiday.
“We are very pleased that the government has shown a clear ambition to re-open international travel in the coming months, and we look forward to more detail in due course. Throughout the pandemic, we have done absolutely everything to look after our valued customers and we have always said that the sun will shine for them once again. We know what an incredibly difficult time it has been for everyone, and we very much look forward to taking everyone from our rainy islands to their dream holiday choice this summer and beyond.”
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Murcia’s regional government has announced plans to provide tourists with insurance coverage for health, transport and accommodation costs incurred if they become infected with COVID-19 during their holidays. The initiative is part of a comprehensive Reactivation Plan for the Regional Tourism Sector unveiled by the government to further boost Murcia’s reputation as a safe destination. … Read more about Free COVID Insurance Coverage for Tourists Travelling to Murcia The post Free...
Murcia’s regional government has announced plans to provide tourists with insurance coverage for health, transport and accommodation costs incurred if they become infected with COVID-19 during their holidays.
The initiative is part of a comprehensive Reactivation Plan for the Regional Tourism Sector unveiled by the government to further boost Murcia’s reputation as a safe destination.
According to minister for tourism, youth and sport Cristina Sánchez, the government believes the measure will be hugely important for tourists when making decisions about their holiday destinations. An initial investment of €500,000 has been allocated for the insurance scheme, to cover 900,000 national Spanish and international tourists.
Addressing the regional parliament, Sánchez said, “It will be intended for visitors who stay in officially registered and regulated tourist establishments, and will allow them to meet any expenses derived from possible infections at a health level, and also for prolonging their stay and that of their family nucleus.”
The government’s 2021 budget includes €21 million for the reactivation plan, supporting tourism-based companies with subsidies and promotional activities. The aim is to enhance relationships with tour operators, including direct and specific aid for accommodation, as well as creating attractive tourist packages devised in the context of the pandemic.
“We will continue working towards developing safe air corridors to prepare for the return of international tourism, and new national connections with northern Spain, thus strengthening north-south connectivity with Corvera Airport Murcia, and especially with the United Kingdom, given the new situation caused by Brexit, as it is one of our main source markets.”
The plan also includes a €1 million allocation exclusively for the hospitality sector, within the framework of Murcia’s year as the Spanish “Capital of Gastronomy”.
The regional government is working closely with Turespaña offices around Europe to showcase Murcia’s incomparable tourist attractions.
Special attention is being focused on the Costa Blanca “brand”, to highlight the quality and diversity of 250 kilometres of coastline, and a tourist destination that is ideal for sports enthusiasts, families, foodies and nature-lovers – while also offering secure health guarantees and protocols.
A key aspect of Murcia’s culinary marketing is wine tourism, and the region is also looking ahead to the Caravaca Jubilee Year in 2024 to promote cultural-religious tourism.
Located in the north-west area of the region, Caravaca de la Cruz is the fifth Holy City of Catholic Christianity and has the privilege of celebrating a jubilee year every seven years, in perpetuity (together with Rome, Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostela and Camaleño). Caravaca is home to the mediaeval Santuario de la Vera Cruz basilica, as well as several convents and a parish church with a cross celebrated for its reputed healing power.
The tourism ministry is also focusing on ecotourism as a complementary attraction to sun and beach, with Sierra Espuña the jewel in its nature crown.
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Many quintessential aspects of Spanish culture have gained iconic status around the world. Flamenco, siestas, fiestas, football (“El Clásico”), sangría, paella, jamón serrano… Spain’s most famous export, however, is arguably the tapa – certainly when it comes to the country’s renowned cuisine. Gastronomy website TasteAtlas, which helps food lovers discover local ingredients, traditional dishes and authentic… Read more about What are Spain’s Most Popular Tapas? The post...
Many quintessential aspects of Spanish culture have gained iconic status around the world. Flamenco, siestas, fiestas, football (“El Clásico”), sangría, paella, jamón serrano… Spain’s most famous export, however, is arguably the tapa – certainly when it comes to the country’s renowned cuisine.
Gastronomy website TasteAtlas, which helps food lovers discover local ingredients, traditional dishes and authentic restaurants around the world, has compiled a global gastronomic ranking of Spain’s most popular tapas to showcase why they enjoy such burgeoning international appeal.
These include zarangollo, which TasteAtlas describes as a common Murcian dish made with a combination of scrambled eggs and thinly sliced zucchinis and onions, with potatoes also sometimes added to the mix. Zarangollo is served warm or hot, as a side dish for a variety of fish courses, and often as a tapa in bars throughout the Murcia region, accompanied – of course – by a glass of wine.
As for Spanish tapas in general, TasteAtlas notes that they are “popularly known as Spain’s greatest food invention. These small finger foods are usually accompanied by a few drinks at lunchtime or in the early evening, led by the philosophy ‘eat when you drink, drink when you eat’.”
Urban legends vary about the tapa’s origins, but the most authoritative version is that the name derives from the Spanish verb “tapar” (meaning “to cover”), and the dish first became popular in Andalucía, with drinkers covering their glasses with slices of bread or meat to keep out dust and flies.
According to TasteAtlas, classic tapas initially tended to be shellfish – olives and mussels or anchovies served on a small plate – but now the term can refer to just about any ingredients served in small portions. And their popularity, and creative diversity, has not only extended across Spain’s regional borders but also internationally, “with virtually no rules as to what goes with what”.
The most popular tapas in southern Spain are shellfish, squid, eggs, prawns, mixed breaded seafood, and fried fish marinated in saffron. In the north, tapas bars serve béchamel-based croquettes and battered prawns, and in Madrid the locals opt for tripe, anchovies cured in vinegar and cured ham. Other less-regional favourites include olives, meatballs, stuffed mussels, green peppers, cured cheeses and thinly sliced salted cod.
Murcia is in a festive culinary mood this year, as the 2020-2021 Capital of Gastronomy in Spain, and one of the region’s key initiatives – for residents as well as international tourists dreaming of visiting again when travel restrictions are eased – is the #1001SaboresRM campaign.
The objective is to shine the spotlight on regional gastronomy in which each flavour has its own name. “At the edge of the sea, in orchards and mountains, you will find such a variety of products and cuisine that you will need a thousand and one nights to discover everything.”
These 1,101 flavours are a blend of tradition and innovation, incorporated into such popular dishes as five we highlight here, with recipes that can be prepared at home – wherever you are in the world…
Marinera – authentic Murcian version of the “Russian salad”.
Pisto Murciano – lunchtime favourite from Murcia’s “Garden of Europe”.
Rice & Vegetables – Calasparra rice with tasty and healthy garden treasures.
Calatrava Bread Pudding – classic Murcia dessert reminiscent of family dinners.
Asiático – delicious coffee concoction that transcends boundaries.
The desire is certainly undiminished. As another northern hemisphere summer draws closer, tourists around the world are looking forward to resuming their travel plans. Obviously eager to tap into that enthusiasm, airline and holiday industry companies have been presenting attractive packages for the new holiday season, and reporting growing interest as the global vaccination roll-out… Read more about Vaccination Roll-Out Helps Boost Tourists’ Optimism for Summer Travel The post...
The desire is certainly undiminished. As another northern hemisphere summer draws closer, tourists around the world are looking forward to resuming their travel plans. Obviously eager to tap into that enthusiasm, airline and holiday industry companies have been presenting attractive packages for the new holiday season, and reporting growing interest as the global vaccination roll-out gains momentum.
EasyJet Holidays, for example, has reported a 250 per cent increase in bookings for summer compared with the same time last year (May is the most popular month), noting that customers are keen to get away as soon as possible.
“We welcome that the much-needed vaccination programme is well underway across the UK and Europe,” said EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren, “as this is undoubtedly the key to unlocking travel again. Not only in enabling travel to take place this summer but in giving consumers confidence to book, so we are absolutely focused on ensuring we are ready to ramp up our flying schedule for when our customers take to the skies again.”
EasyJet’s optimism is reflected in a survey the company – one of the main airline operators at Corvera Airport Murcia – conducted among 5,000 consumers across Europe in January.
This was at a time when lockdown measures were in place or about to be reintroduced in countries across Europe (including Spain), and it coincided with the early stages of the vaccine roll-out, all of which EasyJet believes shows that “consumer intent to book a long-awaited trip is only set to grow once travel restrictions are relaxed”.
The survey’s findings included…
“We know the biggest single barrier to booking and travelling is government restrictions,” said Johan Lundgren. “This is why a government plan of how restrictions can be unwound when it is safe to do, coupled with the successful roll-out of the vaccination programmes, will undoubtedly be the key to unlocking travel again, giving consumers both the confidence to book and travel.
“We know that flexibility remains a priority for our customers. Our ‘Protection Promise’ means that customers can book with confidence knowing that if they are unable to travel or their plans change so can their flights or holiday. And unlike other airlines we will offer customers refunds if they are impacted by a travel ban, even if their flight is not cancelled, which is industry-leading.
“It is great to see that so many consumers plan to travel this year as soon as they can. We will be ready to ramp up our flights to ensure we can take our customers away to see friends and family or on long-awaited holiday breaks when they take to the skies again.”
Pictured: Last year, EasyJet teamed up with Irish artist Will Sliney – known for his work on Marvel comics Spider-Man and Star Wars – to create a range of new comic book-inspired face mask covers for young flyers.
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Regional tourism authorities are showcasing Murcia’s attractions as a major health tourism destination as they prepare for the return of international visitors in 2021. Towards the end of 2020, Tourism Institute experts took part in a series of online workshops with tour operators and travel agencies – both national and international – with the aim… Read more about Enjoying a Healthy Getaway in Murcia The post Enjoying a Healthy Getaway in Murcia appeared first on Corvera Airport...
Regional tourism authorities are showcasing Murcia’s attractions as a major health tourism destination as they prepare for the return of international visitors in 2021.
Towards the end of 2020, Tourism Institute experts took part in a series of online workshops with tour operators and travel agencies – both national and international – with the aim of reactivating Murcia’s health and wellness tourism as soon as travel restrictions are eased.
Also involved in the meetings, organised by the International Fair of Thermal, Health and Wellness Tourism (Termitalia), were industry representatives from elsewhere in Spain, Germany, Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Brazil.
According to Termitalia, tour operators participating in the workshops highlighted the many attractive options for health tourism, even in the current health crisis context. “It is a sector in which specialisation, segmentation and safety prevail, one that combines perfectly with other products such as rural and nature tourism and that is integrated into ‘proximity tourism’ options, which is currently what tourists are seeking.
“These circumstances increase the capacity of health tourism to mobilise travellers in 2021. Health tourism will be strengthened as tourists increasingly seek destinations that, while offering rest and enjoyment, can also help contribute to a healthy and preventive lifestyle.”
Welcoming the virtual fair’s conclusions, Murcia’s minister for tourism, youth and sports Cristina Sánchez said, “We have been able to showcase the great potential of our facilities and we have reinforced the destination’s presence in marketing channels for specialist operators, while also expanding contracts for regional establishments during the 2021 season.”
She noted that the previous year nearly 160,000 tourists had visited the Murcia region (which encompasses the Costa Blanca’s popular seaside resorts), attracted by the high quality of its health and wellness amenities. This sector generated 1,360,000 overnight stays and revenue of €110 million, which represented 3.5 percent of the total expenditure by visitors in the region.
The region’s state-of-the-art medical and health and beauty amenities include thalassotherapy centres, spas, and private clinics and hospitals, all enhanced by Murcia’s excellent year-round climate, complementary leisure options, renowned cuisine and modern tourist infrastructure.
At the 2019 Wellness Experience Awards, the Archena Spa was selected as best spa in Spain, Portugal and Andorra, and the Hotel Thalasia was honoured as best thermal therapy for its “Water Dream” treatment.
Tourists seeking pure air away from crowded urban areas have been invited to explore Spain’s top ecotourism destinations this year – when travel plans permit it. Noting that the coronavirus pandemic was encouraging an increasing number of people to rediscover more natural settings for their holiday getaways, travel website Holidayguru listed 12 major areas committed… Read more about Murcia’s Sierra Espuña Ranked Among Top Ecotourism Attractions in Spain The post Murcia’s Sierra...
Tourists seeking pure air away from crowded urban areas have been invited to explore Spain’s top ecotourism destinations this year – when travel plans permit it. Noting that the coronavirus pandemic was encouraging an increasing number of people to rediscover more natural settings for their holiday getaways, travel website Holidayguru listed 12 major areas committed to sustainable initiatives.
They cross-cross the country from Asturias in the north (Muniellos-Fuente de Narcea woodland) to Cádiz in the south (Marismas de Barbate marshland) and across the Atlantic to Garajonay National Park on La Gomera island. Murcia makes the list at number six with Sierra Espuña.
According to Holidayguru, more than 40 per cent of the Murcia region’s flora species are located in the Sierra Espuña regional nature park, which comes under the auspices (and protection) of the European Sustainable Tourism Charter.
Sierra Espuña is a mountainous, mostly calcareous massif in the heart of the region, rising to 1,500 metres above sea level, with karst landforms at its summits. It is closed to vehicle traffic, so hikers and cyclists can enjoy a network of forest roads and pathways in peace and quiet.
The regional park’s many points of interest include Los Pozos de la Nieve, La Santa hermitage, Hilo and La Perdiz recreational areas, Leyva valley and La Carrasca Forest House – with excellent panoramic views from lookouts dotted throughout the routes.
The flora includes aleppo, black and corsican pine, holm oak, almond, kermes oak, juniper berries, elm and buckthorn; and the fauna, golden eagle, eagle owl, goshawk, sparrow hawk, partridge eagle, booted eagle, pilgrim hawk, tawny owl, Espuña squirrel, wild boar and barbary sheep.
Several hiking routes are available, selected for their natural beauty and cultural attractions. One of the main trekking projects in Sierra Espuña is Espusendas, which provides hikers with the opportunity of enjoying stunning vistas, local cuisine, insight into the history, people and customs of the area, and activities such as active tourism, ecotourism and a variety of rural experiences. The routes range from 3.5 to 5.5 hours, with varying levels of difficulty, and can be followed by individuals or with experienced official guides.
Meanwhile, in other ecotourism news from the region, the ministry of tourism, youth and sport has announced that it has budgeted €70,000 for sign-posting of the EuroVelo 8 cycling route.
The route follows the Mediterranean from Cádiz in Andalucía to Cyprus, covering nearly 6,000 kilometres in total.
In Murcia, the EuroVelo extends over 217 kilometres in four stages through the municipalities of Águilas, Lorca, Mazarrón, Cartagena, La Unión, Los Alcázares, San Javier, San Pedro del Pintar and Murcia – via highways, roads and cycling paths showcasing 15 coastal and 10 protected nature landscapes.
Discover more about Murcia’s popular inland and coastal areas here.
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