Mr. Rubín, what is ASICOTUR, which by the way has just celebrated its 1st International Congress, and what are its objectives?
ASICOTUR is an association born in the confining months of 2020, which sought to create a space where natural connections and cooperation projects could emerge despite the physical distance. The aim was to share the knowledge that members, recognised experts in tourism and cooperation, could bring to new projects or regions.
Since then, it has grown both in number of members and in countries represented, reaching all Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries in the world; and with less than two years of existence, it is starting to launch tourism cooperation projects in countries such as Brazil, Peru, or Panama.
In your opinion, is Ibero-American tourism in good health or should changes be made?
Ibero-American tourism is in excellent health, as we were able to confirm with the figures that were shared in Galicia. Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia presented this at our Congress, held on 25 and 26 May. However, part of the learning that our speakers transmitted was that not everything is figures, and that a tourism development project is incomplete without taking into account all the actors and how they cooperate.
How has the coronavirus affected relations between tourism businesses and institutions?
Obviously it has been a huge challenge, but I believe - and the conclusions of the Congress confirm this - that they have been strengthened. The changing needs of this crisis, as well as the strong interest of tourists and tourism workers in reviving travel, created an atmosphere of constant dialogue and collaboration that we had previously seen as unfinished business.
How do you think the pandemic has changed the behaviour of tourists in general and consumers of your services?
I don't think it has changed much, except for the desire, which has grown exponentially due to the time off forced on us by the pandemic. Nature, ecological or spiritual tourism, which is a big trend right now, was already growing before 2019.
What trends can you foresee regarding the "normality" of the tourism industry?
There are many experts and sociologists who will be able to provide you with data. We understand that travel is going to be lived with more intensity and from this appreciation, the results will be better.
How does digitalisation and the use of technology help the tourism industry?
Both circumstances have created more knowledgeable and informed tourists, who are looking to book and live the experience that best suits all their particularities; so destinations have needed to launch new and very specific tourism products, offering various alternatives. This personalisation, previously unthinkable, has become possible thanks to technology; but we must not forget that both the tourist and the receiver (country, region, and community) are, after all, people. The most important thing in tourism is still the human connection.
Do you think that tourism authorities in general are acting differently after the pandemic, or is everything pretty much the same?
I think we are all trying to combine in the best possible way the two elements I mentioned before, technology (data, information, trends) with genuine personal connection; and that this last element is going to be the balance that tips the balance for the good development of tourism.
What do you think will be the global trend in tourism behaviour?
We are going to hope to enjoy a global health situation that makes what we are seeing in these months a reality. I think we have all learned to behave in a more sustainable way and from there, there will be no limits to the desire for new experiences in different parts of the world.
Finally, what is the bridge between ASICOTUR and the Camino de Santiago?
ASICOTUR was founded by four Councillors of the Order of the Camino de Santiago and we have in the Camino de Santiago a reference, living intensively its international promotion for years.
We are convinced that the values of the Camino de Santiago will be replicated from Asicotur in all the activities that we develop in the more than 30 countries where we are established.
The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of Tourism and Society Think Tank and do not commit the Organization, and should not be attributed to TSTT or its members.