Industry Update
Press Release21 March 2019

The British Ambassador To Spain Meets The Executive Vice President And Ceo Of Meliá In Palma

Simon Manley, accompanied by the Consul General, Lloyd Milen, discussed the state of the travel industry with Gabriel Escarrer, chief executive of the leading Spanish hotel company

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In a further demonstration of the interest the British Government has always shown in British tourism in Spain, and particularly in the Balearic Islands, yesterday the senior British diplomat in Spain visited the headquarters of Meliá Hotels International, one of the largest Spanish travel companies with a longstanding presence in popular destinations for British tourists such as Palmanova or Magaluf.

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Although accompanied by the uncertainty caused by Brexit, the meeting was very constructive, with diplomats expressing their wishes for a reasonable agreement which would allow them to "get down to work" to implement the contingency plans developed with companies and the Spanish authorities. Both Manley and Escarrer agreed on critical aspects in which the Spanish and British governments are already working, such as the need to reduce obstacles for travellers as far as possible, including aspects such as visa requirements or airport congestion caused by customs procedures.

Although Gabriel Escarrer expressed his "full respect for the decision of the British people", the result of the referendum of 2016 "astonished" and saddened him, and he was especially worried about the situation for European nationals working in the hotels the company operates in the UK (4 in operation and 2 more scheduled to open in 2020).

Manley stressed the British government's desire to "normalise" the situation as far as possible, to facilitate the labour relations of European citizens in the United Kingdom, and also allow the country to continue to attract the best talent "regardless of nationality."

The Ambassador emphasised that European companies have a great responsibility in reassuring and informing their workers in the UK, and both parties acknowledged the importance of presenting a cooperation proposal to British Authorities through business forums such as the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the UK, of which Meliá is a member.

Manley and Escarrer also discussed a completely different subject of great interest to them both: the improvements to tourism in Magaluf, a destination in which the hotel company has invested more than 250 million euros in recent years, and also the quality and behaviour of younger British tourists in different destinations in the Balearic Islands. After a review of the important progress already made, they discussed the challenges still pending with regard to a small number of hotels and other facilities still focused on very cheap alcohol or all-inclusive packages, and also the intensification of police controls along with the implementation of local regulations to avoid illegal and unruly activities in the destination.

With regard to British travellers, the Embassy has been working for many years with the Balearic and local authorities (Calvià Town Hall), tour operators and hotel associations on prevention and education campaigns with very significant results. Mallorca and Palmanova-Magaluf have always been popular destinations for UK travellers, which still represent around 22% of total visitors to Mallorca, a figure which rises to 47.65% in Palmanova-Magaluf.

Gabriel Escarrer and his team thanked the Ambassador for his efforts and for the readiness of the British Government to work to "build new bridges" between Spain and the UK to allow tourism to continue to grow and develop as normal, something considered of "maximum interest" for both countries.

About Melia Hotels International

Founded in 1956 in Palma de Mallorca (Spain), Meliá Hotels International is one of the largest hotel companies worldwide, as well as the absolute leader within the Spanish market, with more than 380 hotels (current portfolio and pipeline) throughout more than 40 countries and four continents, operated under the brands: Gran Meliá Hotels & Resorts, Paradisus by Meliá, ME by Meliá, Meliá Hotels & Resorts, INNSIDE by Meliá, Sol by Meliá and TRYP by Wyndham. The strategic focus on international growth has allowed Meliá Hotels International to be the first Spanish hotel company with presence in key markets such as China, the Arabian Gulf or the US, as well as maintaining its leadership in traditional markets such as Europe, Latin America or the Caribbean. Its high degree of globalization, a diversified business model, the consistent growth plan supported by strategic alliances with major investors and its commitment to responsible tourism are the major strengths of Meliá Hotels International, being the Spanish Hotel leader in Corporate Reputation (Merco Ranking) and one of the most attractive to work worldwide. Meliá Hotels International is included in the IBEX 35 Spanish stock market index. Follow Meliá Hotels International on Twitter @MeliaHotelsInt and Facebook meliahotelsinternational.

www.melia.com

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