Spain’s ascent as the preferred Mediterranean getaway for the Indian outbound in recent years has been a resounding testimony to the power of celluloid in creating a pull for tourists. Not many years ago, much of India’s outbound chose more frequented France, Italy and Britain over Spain. Outbound numbers were not substantial either. The watershed for Spain tourism came in late 2011 when a star-studded Hindi movie named ‘Zindgi Naa Milegi Dobara’ was extensively shot at different locations, giving a rare and detailed insight to the plethora of offerings that it had to offer.
There has been no looking back for Spain tourism, since then. Outbound numbers have sky-rocketed from India, from a few thousand to 85,000 in previous year, lending more diversity to source markets for the world’s already third most visited country by tourists. In continuation of its efforts to woo Indian cinema fraternity to shoot in Spain, it has re-invigorated its attempts. A major shot in the arm in its foray came recently, as Spain hosted India’s Oscar – IIFA – a couple of days ago.
It has become a symbiotic relationship, wherein Spain tourism authority facilitate Indian film crew in scouting for locations and shooting the movie in general, using the cinema platform to reach out to hundreds of millions of Indians, with a product re-call that has more profound impact on outreach than any other medium of information dissemination. Cinema crew on the other hand, gets to shoot at exotic and unexplored locations, adding value to the movie.
Tourism and allied activities remain crucial to the fortunes of Spain that depends on the sector for one out of every nine job. Almost 11 percent of the nation’s economy rests on tourism. With the shock exit of the Great Britain form the European Union, hovering refugee crisis and a slowing down economy has made it all the more important for Spain tourism to seek better markets for the near future.
What lends weight to the argument is that according to various global tourism bodies, Indian outbound, riding on the back of a robust domestic economic growth and greater business exchanges with countries across the globe, is likely to swell to larger proportions. Almost 20 million Indians are expected to head abroad by 2020.
The recently concluded IIFA Awards is sure to bring the limelight back onto Spain and its numerous tourism offerings, as vast majority of Indian outbound would, once again, get to sample its offerings, culture and vibrancy. Given that it involves celebs who can attract media and public’s attention, it is a move that makes all the right noises.