It is said about speed dating to find a partner, that it is a very effective method to know if one is sentimentally compatible and that first impressions are generally accurate. Do not be misled by this introduction because I will not talk here about ‘the best way to find a husband’. I bring this up because it has been the system followed by the organization of Spain Reloaded to conduct meetings between 138 international tour operators and the different actors involved in tourism in our country. One of them is fashion, and this is why I was there, recounting during 10 minutes to the professionals from more than 20 different nationalities all the creative options that tourists can find in our country and specifically in Madrid. That for a day, on May 25th, and during the weekend we have accompanied them in a shopping tour to show them some -I would have liked to show them all but we would have killed them from exhaustion- of the Spanish designers boutiques in the capital’s centre.
The reaction of Asian tour operators – from China, Japan, Singapore -, Australians, Russians, Americans, Swiss, Germans, Dutch, etc., etc., we could say that it was love at first sight, to continue with the sentimental simile, although in some cases it was literal, since there was a tour operator who tried on a wedding dress from Delpozo. The fact is that, speaking with all of them, we reached the conclusion that Spanish creator fashion is an asset of enormous attraction outside our borders for many reasons: quality, differentiation, materials, clothing, price – author’s fashion in our country has a very competitive price in comparison with the rest of Europe-, although it must be said that we play with a huge disadvantage, which is the almost complete ignorance of these brands. It is therefore clear that there is a huge way to go and that programs like this one, organized by Turespaña and the Council for Culture, Tourism and Sports of the Community of Madrid, are more than necessary. According to the data provided by Global Blue, a global tax free operator, tourists with high purchasing power represent only 1% of the total visiting our country, and they contribute only 17% of the income from purchases, five points less than the European average.
Many of the tour operators I spoke with, not only greatly appreciated the street boutiques but were also interested in exclusive shopping experiences involving private or small group visits to designer ateliers. Tourists of high purchasing power have a great desire to access exclusive bespoke models that are subsequently sent to their destination. I was told by several of these professionals that, for their long-distance customers, tourists who travel with a full suitcase as well as an empty suitcase to fill with ‘shopping’ and queuing at the doors of Vuitton on the Champs Elysees under the inclement weather of Paris, shopping is a fundamental motivation of the trip. Achieving that desire is a prime objective for those of us who work for the success of Spanish fashion.