Agents attending our Destination Dialogue: Costa Brava Girona arrived with many misconceptions about the destination – but all of them left inspired to sell it and excited they will all be visiting on a fam trip next spring. Those present included representatives from the Costa Brava Girona Tourist Board, the city of Girona and its convention bureau.
COSTA BRAVA IN CONTEXT
The Costa Brava coastline led the way in tourism when package holidays to Spain first began but in recent years the declining quality of some of its mass market resorts mean it has fallen from favour with UK travellers. Beyond these resorts however the wider Costa Brava Girona region offers top-notch accommodation and good quality holidayproducts which the tourist offIce is now trying to push to the fore.
- Agents and consumers alike tend to think of the Costa Brava as down market and a bit tacky. The resort of Lloret de Mar is well known but does not enjoy the greatest of reputations and many tour operators have withdrawn from the region in recent years.
- Awareness of the broader product range is minimal. Great city break options have a low profIle and the excellent opportunities for cycling, walking and gastronomy-based holidays are not well known.
- Clients think all accommodation is mass market resort hotel in style.
- Girona is a beautiful city, perfect for a short break or combined with Barcelona.
- The food in the region is top class. The region is home to world-famous chef, Ferran Adria, (the Heston Blumenthal of Spain) and has more Michelin-rated restaurants than in any other area of Spain including the second best restaurant in the world: the Celler de Can Roca Restaurant run by the Roca Brothers. Eating out is real experience but need not be expensive. Visitors should try the Emporda wines too.
- The accommodation choices are broad from rural houses and hotels to boutique properties and resorts with spas and golf.
- Look beyond summer sales. The Costa Brava is a year-round destination, beyond the beaches it offers ski and winter holiday options too.
- The region has 13 golf courses offered at competitive prices.
- Target families by promoting the 1827km of cycle trails, and coastal walks.
- Recommend self-drive as it is easy and roads are good. Train and bus services are available but self-drive is easier.
- Dali came from this region and culture buffs can visit three signifi cant Dali sites and museums here.
Ryanair flies direct from Manchester and Birmingham to Girona - a 20-minute drive from the city. Alternatively, fly to Barcelona, with a one and-a-half hour transfer. There are train and bus transfers available or Holiday Taxis offers a Barcelona to Girona private transfer. The region borders France so consider access via Perpignan.
"Think again about this region, it's not what you think! Discover the authentic Costa Brava. The people here will welcome your clients as if welcoming family. Stress the diversity of the destination too as clients can go from the mountains to the sea in one holiday. They can enjoy great city breaks and experience the most wonderful gastronomy.“ Sandra Perich, Costa Brava Tourist Board
“I thought this region was down market. Now I see it offers plenty of lovely quality products I can definitely recommend " Jenny Jackson, Co-op Travel
COSTA BRAVA - FAST FACTS
Where is it: It's main city is Girona, a 60-minute drive from Barcelona
What's there: 220km of coastline, Pyrenees mountains, six national parks.
When to go: Year round!
Key attractions: Girona as a great alternative to Barcelona for a city break. Three Dali museums in the region and promote walking, cycling and gastronomy tours.
Average costs: Set-menu meals from 10 Euros.