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Interview with Pedro Homar, managing director of the Fundació Turisme Palma 365 of Palma City Council
The scenario the pandemic will leave behind is very uncertain. What is the Fundació Turisme Palma 365 working on at the moment?
Throughout the last few months of the pandemic, we haven’t stopped promoting Palma for a second at the Foundation, reinventing everything to do with tourism promotion. We have been focusing on digital channels and working on the virtual environment, aiming at a very specific target audience and, of course, changing the messages to include items like health safety.
How do you assess this very atypical season currently drawing to a close and what outlook do you have for summer 2021.
The assessment is grim. The only positive thing we could highlight would be the pilot test carried out, which demonstrated Palma’s resilience as a tourist destination. Looking at the future, it’s a changing situation and it’s all very uncertain, but what we have noted is that people are “impatient to travel”.
Do you think that events like these, which have changed our lives since last March, are going to change the tourism model in general, and in the Balearic Islands in particular?
I don’t know if it will change, but I do think it should. We have to be more competitive in what we do well. Currently, technology is one of the cornerstones of tourism promotion.
We have been talking for years about encouraging the de-seasonalisation of tourism on the islands, but dependence on the high season is still high. In the current situation, the role of de-seasonalisation could be key to mitigating the winter economic slowdown. How do you see this from your point of view?
De-seasonalisation is a challenge and the Palma 365 project was set up 8 years ago to meet it. Up to 2019, the data was spectacular: as an autumn-winter destination, Palma was growing 6% per year. But to have good mid-low seasons, we first need to have a great high season.
What challenges is the Fundació Turisme Palma 365 setting for the next few months?
First, to accelerate our digital transformation process, and second, to continue to develop the Plan Impulsa Palma, a three-year project we have been working on throughout the summer, supported by the Ministry of State for Tourism, with 12 structural and contextual projects for the promotion of tourism in the capital with the aim of achieving a 100% digital environment, from the promotion, customer experience, etc., points of view. We must also be capable of communicating the need to make this leap in small and medium-sized companies in particular and, lastly, study how to incorporate smart tourism and database management into our day-to-day promotional strategy.