Carlos Álamo Cabrera

In an interview with Travel And Tour World, Carlos Álamo Cabrera, Gran Canaria’s local government Tourism Counsellor and President of Gran Canaria Convention Bureau, shares his views on the present scenario and future of incentive tourism in Gran Canaria:

Conversation
Travel And Tour World: What does Congress and Incentive Tourism represent for Gran Canaria?

Carlos Álamo Cabrera: The national and international congresses that take place in Gran Canaria represent a direct benefit for the tourist business fabric, so it is essential to strengthen the existing collaboration agreements between public institutions and private companies to favor the celebration of this type of event.

 

 

Travel And Tour World: What type of events are the most prevalent in the island and from which markets?

Carlos Álamo Cabrera: Great events are held in Gran Canaria all year round. If we had to decide on a specific typology, we can say that our three conference centers attract a significant number of congresses and conventions. However, we must not forget that the island has various landscape models that are not far apart from each other and this favors the design of very attractive incentives that include various formats and activities. Keep in mind that in Gran Canaria, high mountain landscapes at the top of the island and the sea of dunes on the coast of Maspalomas are just sixty minutes away along scenic routes of great beauty.

 

 

Travel And Tour World: Do they collaborate jointly with the rest of the actors in the Sector (congress centres, hotels, service companies…)?

Carlos Álamo Cabrera: The Gran Canaria Convention Bureau, the three conference centers on the island, the hotels, DMC and the rest of the companies that provide services for the events held on the island make up the MICE vision of the island of Gran Canaria. We meet frequently to define our lines of action and from our office we promote cross selling, the interaction between our associated companies. We are currently growing with the incorporation of new companies to the Gran Canaria Convention Bureau.

 

 

Travel And Tour World: What attractions does the island have for holding meetings, events and incentive trips?

Carlos Álamo Cabrera: Gran Canaria offers organizers of meetings, fairs and incentive trips a sea of possibilities for their event on an island with good weather. It is a nearby destination, with good communications, modern infrastructures and a varied and attractive landscape. The island is a prime tourist destination with Europe’s longest incentive trip tradition and extensive organisational experience.

 

 

Travel And Tour World: What possibilities for incentive trips does Gran Canaria offer?

Carlos Álamo Cabrera: In Gran Canaria you will be able to invent the best possible social program of events. The island offers a great wealth of landscapes and a complete leisure offer- a world of vacations that will facilitate the preparation of your social program with activities in completely different settings in the sea or on the beaches or in the green and mountainous interior of the island, filled with small charming villages.
Only in Gran Canaria can you organize your work meetings in the most unique environment, riding a camel through an oasis of dunes, in a rustic farm surrounded by banana trees with all the popular flavour of the most traditional Canarian architecture, or on a relaxing ride on a catamaran along the coast. Everything you can imagine is within your reach.

 

 

In Gran Canaria, our professionals propose a series of activities, which constitute an excellent complement for conventions and incentive programs for companies, in which through teambuilding techniques and in a playful way, interpersonal relationships, communication, teamwork and the ability to improvise- all this in a privileged natural environment and with the best climate in the world.

 

 

At this point, we want to highlight something very important for us, such as zero kilometer gastronomy. High-value products that become the perfect excuse to organize an incentive in Gran Canaria: our dairies, coffee in the Agaete Valley, olive oil, red tuna, our excellent wines, cider, rum production etc. We have also noticed for some time now that event organizers are interested in the skies of the Canary Islands, astronomy and the Starlight Reserve project.

 

 

The soft sun of the island will be with you practically all year round, although the good weather is not the only thing that makes Gran Canaria a great destination for meetings and congresses.

 

 

Gran Canaria presents an enormously diverse range of hospitality. In addition to an excellent offer of city hotels, we have a complete and modern offer of establishments of the highest quality by the beaches. You can also choose between historic hotels or between establishments located in rural settings, surrounded by friendly and changing nature.

 

 

 

Travel And Tour World: What weight does the segment of meetings, events and incentives have in the tourist activity of Gran Canaria?

Carlos Álamo Cabrera: It has a very important weight. The tourism industry is the main engine of the economy of Gran Canaria, like the rest of the Canary Islands, and this makes us a leading destination in Europe and, in short, a very attractive place to spend a few days, whether in leisure format, holiday or to have specialized meetings. In our congress office, Gran Canaria Convention Bureau, we have selected the best hotels and unique spaces on the island, together with our three fabulous congress palaces, so that, together with local companies in the sector, event organizers from all over Europe and from the rest of the world can come to the island to celebrate their events with all the facilities, the greatest guarantees of success and with impressive weather conditions practically all year round. We will soon publish an exhaustive study carried out jointly with the TIDES Institute of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, from which such positive data emanates as that of a daily expenditure per international participant of more than 260 euros and an annual business potential of more than seventy million Euros.

 

 

Gran Canaria, a miniature continent due to its great variety of landscapes, has managed to transform its tri-continental DNA into the traditional hospitality that defines this archipelago. Another of the pillars of the island’s MICE industry is based on charming spaces that take us back to another time, places that make us happy. Imagine for a moment, swimming in the ocean next to a sea of golden sand dunes to, cross subtropical ravines that transport us to the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria! More than twenty years of experience that the Gran Canaria congress office has accumulated are at the entire disposal of the meeting planners when it comes to designing a program that bears the imprint of the first Canarians. It is a rich archaeological legacy protected by UNESCO. Our events follow a cultural immersion journey that leads us to taste the unique flavors of the rich Canarian cuisine. An island of people who are passionate about nature and outdoor sports all year round. We also have modern facilities that are perfectly prepared to host all kinds of professional events.

 

 

Gran Canaria has one of the most important ports in the Atlantic and has always had a cosmopolitan air; open to the world and to avant-garde currents and modernity, on an island where respect for our traditions is very important. And although it has been hard for many to realise, we have some unique local gastronomic products due to the unique nature of the territory, which is now enjoying an enviable health moment as they attract the interest of renowned chefs in restaurants that are part of the main proposals of the archipelago.

 

 

We have meeting spaces full of stories to tell. How many Convention Bureaus do you know that have a large organic coffee farm as associated spaces? And an old carpentry transformed into a co-working space? And the very palace house where the famous navigator Christopher Columbus rested before his trip to the New World? And a venue on a heart-shaped island? Have you ever organized an event in the gardens of a marchioness and on a high-speed circuit? All this is Gran Canaria and much more. Gran Canaria, it is known, is a great destination. We encourage you to rediscover it and meet the people who have made the island of Gran Canaria internationally recognized as the island of big events.

 

 

In addition, we have an added attraction, which consists of the safety of the destination and its comfort with a connectivity never seen before in our history. Security is guaranteed in all aspects. On the health side, it must be said that in the 18 months that we have been in the pandemic we have been one of the least affected destinations and with the fewest cases in Europe, with the best health services and a level of professionals that guarantee the maximum comfort and safety of our visitors.

 

 

Travel And Tour World: What measures have been taken to adapt to the new needs of the MICE industry? How is air accessibility evolving in the archipiélago?

Carlos Álamo Cabrera: IImplementation of rigorous protection measures that we are all familiar with has brought with it the possibility of organizing outdoor events all year round, making us one of the safest destinations in Europe. In fact, we have been one of the first destinations to organize blended events with all the health guarantees assured and without any incident. The protocols were assumed by the entire sector and we have become an example of the World Tourism Organization in this regard. It is impressive to see how the sector has been able to reinvent itself once again to face a real challenge and the excellent results after the transformation are proof that the measures applied have been correct. On the other hand, the Government of the Canary Islands supports the holding of events on the islands, insuring the participants and the organizing committee in the event of the appearance of a contagion. After confinement, the efforts of local administrations have been directed at reactivating air connections, something vital for an archipelago, and the good news is that not only has the vast majority recovered, but new routes have been opened, opening new markets. All in all, we now have direct connections with more airports, with the peninsular territory, with the Nordic countries and with the main countries that send tourists from Europe, than during the year 2019.

 

 

Travel And Tour World: How does the destination address its commitment to sustainability in the face of receiving groups?

Carlos Álamo Cabrera: At the Gran Canaria congress office we are firmly committed to the unstoppable and necessary transformation of the sector and of life in general towards a more sustainable model. The future of MICE will be sustainable or it will not be. What has been experienced on this planet has awakened a global conscience and in Gran Canaria there are not a few advances in this regard. By way of example, we can cite the start-up of the first offshore wind turbine in our country and the PLOCAN ocean research platform, the Chira-Soria reversible hydraulic power plant, which will facilitate exponential growth in the volumes of renewable energy generation and the project collection of water from the clouds brought by the trade winds, the Fog Life Project, among others. In Gran Canaria, moreover, and for a long time, when we talk about sustainability and as in the rest of the country, we also talk about inclusion and equality at all levels. We have a privileged nature and a unique endemic flora due to the insular condition. We know that our main attraction, apart from the weather and the beaches, is in our geography and the immense possibilities it offers. RiscoCaído, for example, gives its name to a project that brings together the rest of the Sacred Mountain Areas and whose ultimate goal is the declaration of this extraordinary insular archaeological complex as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. We are Fortunate Islands and the commitment to sustainability is complete in every way.

 

 

Travel And Tour World: What recovery forecasts does the Gran Canaria Convention Bureau handle?

Carlos Álamo Cabrera: The new normal is already a fact. Putting into practice the greatest of prudence, the great events have already returned. The main players in the industry are beginning to contribute positive values after a long journey in the desert and we believe that the final stretch of this year is going to be the launch pad to definitely take off in the New Year. We are very happy when we hear from other destinations that are also holding events. We understand that what is good for your city is good for all cities, all destinations. We are going to show that a professionalized event is the safest ecosystem potentially to stimulate the different local economies.

 

 

Travel And Tour World: In which source markets are you focusing your promotion strategy?

Carlos Álamo Cabrera: Since the birth of this congress office, more than twenty years ago, our promotional efforts have traditionally been projected on those markets with which we maintain a direct air connection. That does not mean that, taking advantage of the excellent options via Madrid and other European hubs, we welcome groups from anywhere in the world. We have positioned ourselves as a destination with an enviable organizational capacity and to prove it, you only need to consult our long biography as a MICE destination.

 

 

We are pleased to have spaces that have been transformed to make the most of the incredible climatic conditions of our archipelago, where unrepeatable events are designed and developed in which the cult of sustainability, the implementation of the most innovative digital solutions, the ancestral footprint of the ancient settlers, the rich and varied local cuisine backed by spectacular local products, the practice of any outdoor sport all year round, having become a paradise for digital nomads from all over the world and a long etcetera, they are the pillars of an industry that improves thanks to the interaction with professionals from all over the world.

 

 

Travel And Tour World: How to reactivate the sector?

Carlos Álamo Cabrera: We can reactivate the sector by organizing vents, many events and safe events, now more than ever. We have already done it in December 2020. We know how they are done and we have taken good note to learn from our mistakes in a new normal for the sector. The island of Gran Canaria has not stopped organizing events as soon as the confinement ended, thanks to the low incidence of the virus. In addition, internal consolidation work helps our associated companies, tries to be a beacon in the dark in the midst of so many protocols and measures that change every day. For foreign promotion work, the congress office has attended practically all the virtual events of the national and international MICE scene. The Canary Islands, as you know, is a first class holiday tourist destination. The island’s MICE sector, very proud to share spaces with a recognized sun and beach tourist destination, faces the need to ‘break’ with that cliché on a daily basis to communicate that we are also a destination for many wonderful products : Gastronomy, culture, tradition, sport, history and prehistory, nature, sustainability… and a lot of MICE!

 

 

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