Athens International Airport

Air Service One talks with…. Miguel Angel Perez Alba, Brand & Marketing Director at Visit Valencia.

Miguel Angel Perez Alba, Brand & Marketing Director at Visit Valencia.
Miguel Angel Perez Alba, Brand & Marketing Director at Visit Valencia. Inset: Valencia home of World Paella Day.

Air Service One has interviewed many airlines and airports in the last few years and now we get to chat with Miguel Angel Perez Alba, Brand & Markets Director at Visit Valencia who has been a regular face at air service events worldwide promoting the Spanish destination of Valencia for years!

With so many reasons to visit Valencia we asked Miguel for the inside track on the success of their air service development program after being impacted heavily by the pandemic three years ago!

How important is the aviation sector for the tourism industry in Valencia?

Many years ago, we realised that connectivity and route development was very important… this is why our marketing activities are mainly directed in line with the aviation strategy. To sum up, it is extremely important, as most of our international tourists come by plane.

 Does Visit Valencia provide support or incentives to airlines?

We don’t have proper economic incentives, this is done by [airport operator] AENA for new routes at Spanish airports. What we do is a big portfolio of different promotional stuff: fam and press trips, offline and online activations, outdoor campaigns, etc. Whatever is necessary to incentivse demand and secure new routes.

From which markets does Valencia see the most visitors?

Number one is Italy, then we have the Netherlands, UK, Germany, and battling for fifth position are France and United States. Over 50% of our visitors come from abroad. In January 2024, we saw growth of20% in international overnight stays.

 What are some markets from which you would like to gain more visitors from?

Valencia is now one of the European urban destinations with the highest occupancy, prices at hotels increased over 30% in 2023 on 2019, so we look for markets in the north of Europe and America with higher GDPs per capita. However money is not all and, being the European Green Capital this year, we also look for tourists that want to travel in a sustainable way, respecting and having interest in our culture and heritage.

Valencia Airport handled 9.9 million passengers in 2023 and has surpassed its pre-Covid passenger figures. What has been the main driver of growth and how has tourism recovered so quickly in a country which was one of the more impacted in the early stages of the pandemic?

There is no secret, just the culture of effort to move forward and grow; to grow as a genuine authentic destination. We did not focus on tourists, we focused on our citizens, on making a better city for them. This is why Valencia has been chosen twice as the best city to live in … and the best city to live in is the best one to visit, to work, to study, to retire, etc.

During the pandemic we were the first city to measure carbon footprint in tourism, we focused on sustainability and achieved the title of World Design and European Smart Tourism Capital, this year we are the Green Capital. These titles are helping us to get exposure in major media outlets such as The New York Times, The Times, CNN, Time, etc.

 What infrastructure developments have been made in recent years at Valencia Airport and how important are these for attracting new services?

Our airport was awarded as best one (for its size) in June 2022. The airport also works hard on sustainability and digitalisation, making it a very efficient airport (both for passengers and airlines)

What are some measures Visit Valencia has taken to be more sustainable?

Our city has developed some new pedestrian squares and increased bike lanes to near 200 km … We at Visit Valencia are supporting events and the film industry to become more sustainable, not just measuring but also reducing the carbon footprint, reducing plastic waste, promoting a Mediterranean diet with local and seasonal products, etc.

 

Shannon AIrport

Favourite activity to do in Valencia?

I love paella cooking masterclasses and, of course, our Fallas Festival- World Heritage by UNESCO

 

Favourite unusual fact about Valencia?

The bat is the symbol of our city (and our football club)- yes! We do like nightlife!

 

 Favourite place to visit in Spain outside of Valencia?

Difficult question: I love Madrid as it is only 90 minutes by high-speed train; but outside of Valencia, in our province, we also have very nice villages, wineries, beaches, etc.

 

Favourite sport to watch/play?

I play paddle in summer and watch football in Mestalla, Valencia since I was 13 (a few years ago).

 

 Favourite place to visit outside of Spain and why?

Anywhere with a routes development event… why? Because I love aviation people 😉

 

First airline you ever flown with and between which cities?

Valencia to Dublin in 1989, which airline? I guess it was Iberia, but enough to remember the city.

Billund Airport