April 20, 2024
Interviews Travel

Valencia tourism sector emerges stronger post-pandemic

The Spanish city is European Green Capital 2024

The tourism sector in Valencia –  Spain’s third-largest city – has recovered remarkably from the pandemic, with international tourist traffic exceeding pre-pandemic figures.

In an exclusive interview with ‘Middle East News 247’ in Valencia, on the sidelines of the 40th edition of CEVISAMA—the leading international tradeshow for ceramics, bathroom equipment, natural stone, and related sectors (February 26 to March 1, 2024)—held in Valencia, Miguel Ángel Pérez Alba, Brand & Markets Director of Visit Valencia, said: “The city’s travel statistics soared in 2023, with a 26.7% increase compared to 2022 even as Valencia’s tourism sector, which contributes around 15% to the local economy, is experiencing a renaissance.”

He added: “More than 50% of visitors come from international destinations. Italy tops the list as the number-one source market, followed by the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, and France, showcasing Valencia’s global appeal.”

European Green Capital 2024

With the European Green Capital 2024 title under its belt and amid the global recovery, Valencia is flourishing as a key tourist destination in Spain and garnering international recognition for its rich cultural and design contributions as a leading European city.

(L-R) Miguel Ángel Pérez Alba and David Arlandis (Visit Valencia). Credit: Arnold Pinto

The European Commission presented Valencia with the European Green Capital 2024 award in recognition of the city’s efforts to improve the environment and residents’ and visitors’ quality of life. 

Speaking about the city’s success in attracting the desired calibre of travellers, Pérez Alba highlighted Valencia’s commitment to “quality tourism over quantity tourism”.

This approach “focuses on equality and attracts higher-spending markets that respect and appreciate Valencia’s rich cultural heritage. The emphasis is on economic interests and preserving and celebrating Valencia’s world heritage status”, said Pérez Alba.

Miguel Ángel Pérez Alba
The iconic City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. Credit: Arnold Pinto

Pérez Alba noted that the groundbreaking ‘Andalucia Experience’ project “positions Valencia as a key player in this Spanish programme”.

Arab heritage

“While not boasting architectural wonders like Alhambra or Mezquita in Córdoba, Valencia nonetheless takes pride in its Arab heritage dating back to 718, influencing traditions, agriculture, and even the popular drink, horchata,” said Pérez Alba.

Valencia features medieval era architecture. Credit: Arnold Pinto

Pérez Alba stressed that “the narrative underscores the shared ancestry and heritage of Arabs and the people of Spain, especially in the Andalusian region”.

According to David Arlandis, Product Manager of Visit Valencia, international trade and business events held in Valencia, such as CEVISAMA 2024, help global travellers experience all that the vibrant Mediterranean city has to offer, from local cuisine to medieval-era towns, nature, and religious houses of worship.

Architectural marvels

Valencia’s skyline is a unique testament to its architectural prowess, where the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences stands as an emblem of innovation.

Valencia is Spain’s third-largest city. Credit: Arnold Pinto

Designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, this avant-garde complex boasts structures like the Hemisfèric, a colossal planetarium, and the ethereal L’Umbracle, a landscaped walkway adorned with a stunning array of local flora.

Once a riverbed converted into a lush park, one can traverse the Turia Gardens to discover the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia. This stunning opera house is a testament to Valencia’s commitment to the arts.

Valencia was the World Design Capital in 2022.

Historical enclaves

For those travellers craving a taste of Valencia’s storied past, the Old Town, or Ciutat Vella, beckons with its maze of narrow streets adorned with colourful facades and historical landmarks.

Mercado de la Imprenta is a gastronomic haven located in a historic building in Valencia. Credit: Arnold Pinto

The majestic Valencia Cathedral and the Silk Exchange, a UNESCO World Heritage site showcasing Gothic grandeur, are must-visits. Also worth a visit is the Plaza de la Reina, a bustling square where locals and tourists converge, surrounded by cafes and shops offering authentic Valencian cuisine.

Culinary delights

Valencia’s gastronomic scene celebrates Mediterranean flavours, with paella reigning supreme as the city’s culinary crown jewel.

Hortensia Herrero Foundation museum in Valencia. Credit: Arnold Pinto

El Palmar is a picturesque village surrounded by rice fields, where one can savour an authentic paella experience. The Central Market, a bustling food haven, entices visitors with a kaleidoscope of fresh produce, seafood, and local delicacies, offering a feast for the senses.

City of Arts and Sciences was designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela. Credit: Arnold Pinto

As Valencia emerges as a cultural hub and a sought-after travel destination, the city’s commitment to preserving its heritage and fostering international connections continues to make it a must-visit location on the world map.

Valencia is a must-visit destination for Middle East-based tourists. Credit: Arnold Pinto

Tile of Spain, the international marketing arm of ASCER, the Spanish ceramic tile manufacturers’ association, played a key role in CEVISAMA 2024 held in Valencia.

Varied flora on display at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. Credit: Arnold Pinto

For more information about Valencia, visit: https://www.visitvalencia.com/en

Featured image: Valencia was awarded the European Green Capital 2024 status in recognition of the city’s efforts to improve the environment and its residents and visitors’ quality of life. Credit: Arnold Pinto

Last Updated on 1 month by Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, aerospace, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, automotive, and fashion verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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