Spain’s little La Rioja delights Rome visitors with treasures

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Among the events of the Roman summer, the Spanish region of La Rioja organized two important events presented at a press conference at the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See. The performance of the Rioja birth included Pablo Sainz Villegas in concert at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome who enchanted a large audience of tourists and locals.

The young Pablo Sainz Villegas has reached a level of fame synonymous with compatriot Andres Segovia and is indicated as his heir among the current guitar virtuosi of Spain. Pablo will soon release his recordings with Placido Domingo.

The grand finale of the celebrations of the La Rioja region took place at the Cervantes Institute in Rome where over 200 guests benefited from an evening of music as well as a taste of typical Rioja products.

The Cervantes Institute is a meeting place for cultural and communication personalities of the Hispanic world who are invited to attend conferences, debates, seminars, concerts, exhibitions, film screenings, and Spanish teachings, etc.

At the press conference, Ms. Leonor Gonzales Menorca, Councilor of Economic Development and Innovations of the Government of Rioja, stated that La Rioja, the smallest region of Spain, is rich in history, culture, food, and wine. It is strongly focused on tourism and presented the strengths of a destination that is still little known but has high potential.

Italian tourism in La Rioja is growing. Official figures witnessed around 1,800 Italian arrivals on the leisure front, while the total considering business traffic reached and exceeded 40,000. These are numbers Rioja wants to increase.

Located about 3 hours from Madrid to the Basque country, the region is easily accessible from both the north and the south. From the capital city of Madrid, it is connected by train and bus to Logrono, but the quickest way is from Bilbao which is about an hour from La Rioja, representing an ideal gateway to visit the region.

While the territory is small, it is full of attractions, starting with wine production in the Ebro valley. Ms. Menorca said, “Every year, hundreds of wineries open their doors to visitors and the region offers more than a thousand programs related to wine and its derived products with visits to vineyards, tastings, vinotherapy, and activities for families with children.”

La Rioja is also history and culture. “We are the cradle of the Spanish language,” said the Councilor, “and we have traces of ancient settlements such as the Celtiberian village of Contrebia Leukade and the Grotto in Santa Eulalia Somera, as well as sites of famous medieval legends such as the Battle of Clavijo.”

The region is also famous for the Monastero of Santa Maria la Real de Najera located within the Camino de Santiago. “In Logrono, converges the French route originating from the Pyrenees passing from Navarre and Aragon and the itinerary of Ebro, which from the Mediterranean follows the ancient Roman road between Terragona and Astorga passing through our cities of Alfaro, Calahorra, and Varea,” Menorca added.

The La Rioja region is an additional attraction for Spain whose indicators appear positive. “Italy represents our fourth reference market,” added Jorge Rubio, Director of the Spanish Office of Tourism in Rome, “In 2017, we recorded a growth of 6% in arrivals with a 6.9% increase in revenue.”

Also ready is a new training program for travel agents. “By the end of the year 2018,” concluded the Director, “We will put online a new cycle of different activities for both the trade and the final consumer.”

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Mario is a veteran in the travel industry. His experience extends worldwide since 1960 when at the age of 21 he started exploring Japan, Hong Kong, and Thailand. Mario has seen the World Tourism develop up to date and witnessed the destruction of the root/testimony of the past of a good number of countries in favor of modernity/progress. During the last 20 years Mario's travel experience has concentrated in South East Asia and of late included the Indian Sub Continent. Part of Mario's work experience includes multi activities in the Civil Aviation field concluded after organizing the kik off of for Malaysia Singapore Airlines in Italy as an Institutor and continued for 16 years in the role of Sales /Marketing Manager Italy for Singapore Airlines after the split of the two governments in October 1972. Mario's official Journalist license is by the "National Order of Journalists Rome, Italy in 1977.