Antonio Catalán: “This country has plenty of demand and lacks price”


Pedro Saura has listed in this sense “the levers to face the two great challenges that are presented to the sector: the new demand requirements, also in sustainability in the destination and in the hotel offer; and talent retention. For this it is necessary “a change of culture betting on valuecompete not for prices but by adding value to our business”.

Saura advocates “taking advantage of this economic recovery to reorient the tourism model towards the one we all want, to raise prices by adding value such as sustainability”

These changes must be introduced now that tourism in Spain is going through a good time, with Madrid as its champion. Not surprisingly, the capital, in the words of Aragonés, “is experiencing a glorious momentLike we’ve never seen before.”

“Madrid is the fashion capital of the world; has gone from being a fundamentally business city to becoming a tourist city due to the strength of this segment, thanks also to its range of sporting events and to what will be the largest conference center in Europe, the Santiago Bernabéu, which will give a super powerful life to Madrid”, as Antonio Catalán has underlined

However Aragonés has warned of “the bubble we are living in because of pent-up demandwhich is not going to be permanent, so we must continue working on promotion and infrastructures, especially digitalfor which we must seize the opportunity of the funds Next Generation”.

European funds

In his opinion, “there is a tremendous retail of projects from City Councils and Provincial Councils, but without any that are tractors, and I fear that we are going to lose a great opportunity for the sector. We run the risk of thinking that since everything is going well now we won’t need it, but It is now when we are starting to get afloat thanks to some aid that we have to repay, not like those given to the sector by other European countries. Now we will have to see what prospects we have for autumn and 2023, for which we need European funds.

from left From right, the moderator, Javier García Cuenca, president of the ITH; Pedro Saura, president of Paradores; Ramón Aragonés, CEO of NH Hotel Group; and Antonio Catalán, president of AC Hotels by Marriott.

Catalan has ensured that “European funds have only been seen in Italy” and has proposed using them to “face the great challenge of creating a tour operator at origin and an airline as they have competitor countries such as Turkey, since air transport is essential for our two archipelagos, which if they are not dead. We have to rule the client where the big tour operators now rule”.

For the president of AC Hotels by Marriott, “Spain cannot afford to lose Air Europa, our flagship company, regardless of whether it is public or private. SEPI should therefore stay with it, with whatever participation it may be”


He has also appealed to “stop the bubble a bit because the macroeconomic data are not at all favourable”. Along the same lines, Aragonés has pointed out that the greatest challenge is “the economic situation, with signs coming from the United States and Europe about a hypothetical recession in the coming months; taking into account that this industry is absolutely exposed to the consumption capacityboth individuals and companies.

Information generated in the fourth edition of the ITH Innovation Summit, held last October, at:

– García Cuenca: “The change of mentality is the great challenge of the sector”

– How the hotel distribution model has changed due to the pandemic

– The flight of talent and the lack of personnel set off alarms in the sector

– Synthetic data, the next big opportunity for the tourism sector

– Automation: opportunity niches in the hotel

The truth is that, despite what was said at the time of how the technology used during the pandemic could undermine corporate tourism and MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and events), the worst omens have not finally been fulfilled since, as the CEO of NH has stated, “absolutely everything has returned”.

“The urban recovery is being very solid, not only in Spain but in Europe in general. And it is that the gradual return of the corporate segment is added to the boom in urban tourism, the bleisure, a new segment that is added to those we already had. Thursdays thus go from being a traditional check-out day to being a check-in day for people who take advantage of the weekend at the destination by working remotely”, according to Aragonés