06 Jun ASTA Destination Expo 2016 convention press release
Seville offers its broad heritage, culture, and gastronomy to welcome the American Society of travel Agents (ASTA) and host their annual convention at Fibes Conference and Exhibition Centre. Around 400 agents from the United States are meeting in FIBES for a convention that is strategic to increase the flow of travellers from the US to Seville. The US was the second source of tourists to Seville and the third in overnight stays in 2015. After the convention, the Mayor of Seville, Juan Espadas, is confident that the city will become one of ASTA’s favourite destinations.
ASTA Destination Expo 2016 inauguration at Fibes
From today through to Sunday, Seville is holding the ASTA Destination Expo 2016. Organised by the largest travel agents’ association in the United States – the American Society of Travel Agents -, the convention is set to bring together an estimated 400 American agents. This event will be a great opportunity to showcase Seville as a top tourist destination not only in the US travel market, but also in Canada, New Zealand and Australia. all of which come within the influence scope of the international association.
Juan Espadas took part in the presentation of this event at the Alfonso XIII Hotel along with the President of the Provincial Government, Fernando Rodríguez Villalobos; the Head of the Tourism & Sport Department of the Andalusian Regional Government, Javier Fernández; ASTA CEO, Zane Kerby; and Roger Block, President of the Board of the American Society of Travel Agents.
ASTA, the largest international travel association in the world
ASTA is the biggest international association of travel professionals. Its members include travel agents and travel companies, selling products such as trips, cruises, hotels, rented cars, and so on. It is considered as the most important association of travel companies in the world. While most of its members are travel agents, a large number of tourist service providers also attend ASTA’s conventions to meet with the travel agents members of the association. Among them, we can expect members from airline companies, hotels, rent-a-car companies, cruises and tour operators. 70% of ASTA’s members are US travel agents or agencies and the remaining 30% are spread all over the world.
An international convention of great benefit to Seville
ASTA’s members manage 80% of all international trips offered in the US through travel agents, hence the importance of the international convention for Seville. It is largely expected to help boost tourism to the city, particularly from the United States. In fact, in 2015 the United States was the second market sending travellers to Seville with 135,658 tourists, after France (171,477). Regarding overnight stays, however, the US was third (292,923) after France (414,371) and Italy (308,727). In March 2016, the United States outnumbered even France with 12,998 to 11,480 respectively, according to data collected by the Seville Tourist Department (Consorcio de Turismo de Sevilla).
During the presentation of ASTA Destination Expo 2016, the organisers disclosed that after the previous edition of the convention which was held in Marrakech, the number of tourists from the United States to the city increased by 20%. Furthermore, the Moroccan city leaped into the top ten destinations operated by ASTA travel agents.
Seville, a city of great interest for tourism
Juan Espadas pointed out the broad heritage, deep culture, and unique gastronomy offered by Seville, marked and perceived as a “safe destination” by tourists. This fact is also reflected in the increasing number of international congresses and MICE events hosted in the city. This perception of the city, added the Mayor, is also visible in the streets of the city and the lifestyle of its inhabitants. These words were also corroborated by Zane Kerby himself who claimed to perceive “peace and quiet” in Seville.
Seville’s Mayor told ASTA members that Seville is a destination “with many possibilities and unique tourist experiences”. He also underlined the growing number of students who enrol in its language schools to learn Spanish. After thanking Turespaña for its cooperation in organising the ASTA convention as well as for the promotion of the city abroad, Espadas showed ASTA executives the joined work which is being carried out with Malaga, Cordoba and Granada (the so-called Tourist Axis) with the aim of offering complementary tourist products gathering the best of these Andalusian cities.
The main goal of ASTA Destination Expo 2016 – to be officially opened in FIBES tomorrow including a program of visits in the city – is for the travel agents in this association to generate tour packages with Seville and offer those packages to American tourists, its effects in the number of travellers being as immediate as possible.