THE acting president of the Spanish Tourist Office in Frankfurt, Horacio Díaz del Barco, has described the outlook for the German market opting for Spain as a number one holiday destination in 2004 as “favourable”. He claimed that there were positive signs in Germany that this coming year was going to be a good one for Spain in terms of tourist numbers visiting from this key client market. Díaz del Barco, who took part in an event organised by the Spanish Tourist Office in Frankfurt, emphasised that an increase in the number of German tourists visiting Spain is expected. Amongst other reasons, he judged this was owing to, “the improved economic situation” in Germany. Combined with this factor is “the favourable image that a considerable percentage of Germans hold of Majorca and the renewed interest by many tour operators in the Balearics. This allows us to believe that 2004 will be a good year for the sector”, he added. Amongst strategies to encourage German holiday makers to choose Spain as a holiday destination, Díaz del Barco pointed to “the Spanish commitment to improve quality” and the “development of alternative forms of tourism, away from sun and sea packages”. He further made reference to the Quality Plan, which was launched in 2000 and which lays claim to a budget of 45'000 million euros (54'796 million dollars) during the period leading up to 2006. Díaz del Barco highlighted the numerous celebratory occasions planned in Spain this coming year: the centenary celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Salvador Dalí, the international cultural forum, in Barcelona, and the Jacobean Year in Galicia amongst others. The president added that 2003 “hasn't been a bad year for tourism”, in spite of international events such as the war in Iraq or the outbreak of the SARS virus (severe acute respiratory syndrome), two events which in themselves, have affected international travel. During the meeting, the Tourist Office in Frankfurt awarded the “Friend of Spain 2003” prize. This year, the accolade fell to Lothar Buss, a member of the management group of the German tour operator, Thomas Cook.

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