Miguel A. Torres, fourth generation winemaker and president of Bodegas Torres, has called on members of the wine trade to help bring tourists back to Barcelona, Spain.
“I’m sure you are aware of the unsettling events that have taken place in our city since August,” he wrote, in a 5 December 2017 letter sent to senior members of the wine trade. “Firstly, on the 17th of that month, a terrible terrorist attack killed 16 people in the Ramblas.”
Then in September, pro-independence parties started the campaign for a referendum about Catalan independence, leading to the dismissal of the Catalan government in November. These events were fraught, and scenes of protest, rallies and police violence were beamed around the world. This had an immediate impact on regional tourism, with The Guardian reporting that tourism numbers slumped by 15% since the referendum.
“As a consequence of all of the events above, many tourists have cancelled their trips to Catalonia and Barcelona,” wrote Torres. “I would like to ask for your help in bringing Barcelona back into the minds of these potential tourists.”
According to the Guardian report, Catalonia received around 18m visitors in 2016, with tourism accounting for nearly 12% of the region’s GDP. It employs more than 400,000 people in Catalonia.
Torres went on to list the many attractions of Barcelona, including the many Michelin-star restaurants, the more than 90 museums and, of course, the magnificent Sagrada Familia cathedral. Not only that, but Barcelona is moving towards sustainability. “Pollution has declined greatly partly thanks to the efforts of the City Administration to promote the use of bicycles in the city,” he wrote, adding that “A third of the taxis in the city (over 3,300 vehicles) are hybrid, electric or use alternative energies.”
And, of course, “The Penedes wine region is less than an hour drive from Barcelona.”
In closing, Torres wrote that Barcelona is a great city. “After all, it is my city, but I think it deserves more positive attention – perhaps you can help me.”
Miguel A. Torres is a winemaker, author and advocate for the environment, who is one of the most prominent members of the worldwide wine trade. He has been recognised for his many achievements by bodies ranging from the government of Chile to the Institute of the Masters of Wine.
A major feature on the work of Miguel A. Torres and his contribution to the environment can be found in issue 6, 2017 of Meininger’s Wine Business International.