The Spanish edition of prestigious travel bible Conde Nast Traveller magazine awarded Manchester the title of ‘Best International Destination’ at its annual Gold List ceremony held in Madrid on 4 June 2019.
One of 21 prizes awarding the very best in travel and tourism and voted for by Conde Nast Traveller Spain readers, Manchester’s win was one of the most significant of the night as the city faced stiff competition in its category from a long list of 16 other international destinations including Bangkok, Mexico City, Istanbul, and Vienna.
The award recognises the work that local destination management organisation Marketing Manchester and national tourism board VisitBritain have undertaken to promote the city in Spain over many years, alongside Manchester’s generally improving tourism offer that includes new hotels, attractions, restaurants and nightlife.
According to the latest available data* Manchester currently receives around 64,000 annual visitors from Spain each year, which has grown by 36% from around 47,000 in 2015.
Commenting on the award, Sheona Southern, manging director of Marketing Manchester, said: “This is a fantastic accolade for Manchester and one that we are very proud to receive, especially as it is the result of a public vote and comes at a time when we have been increasing the work we do in Spain via marketing campaigns, media engagement and travel trade training.
“Manchester is changing rapidly and now has much more to offer international tourists – increasingly varied tours and attractions, bigger and more frequent music and sporting events, world-class exhibitions and performance at our cultural venues, and a thriving food and drink scene – and it is fantastic to see that our Spanish visitors now view our city as one to rival world-class destinations like Bangkok, Mexico City, and Vienna.
“We used to see Spanish visitors mainly visiting Manchester to watch their team play at the Etihad or Old Trafford, but now we see them exploring our neighbourhoods, undertaking tours, eating in top restaurants, discovering our cultural offer and enjoying our nightlife. It’s a delight to see those changing travel habits, which are gradually being replicated across all of our key European markets.”
Collecting the award on behalf of Manchester on the night was British Ambassador to Spain, HMA Simon Manley, who added: “The ceremony was a special one for Manchester. The city where the Industrial Revolution began is nowadays a place full of life with a great cultural offer; the cradle of some of the world’s best contemporary music bands; a pioneer in urban regeneration; a place filled with cool neighbourhoods; and home to a gastronomic culture that is stirring up passions in foodie circles. Manchester has been increasingly catching the attention of Spanish travellers and has seen a 36% increase on visits from Spain in the last five years.”
Cristina Bernabe, Manager for Southern Europe at VisitBritain, said: “We are really proud of the work we have been doing together with Marketing Manchester to promote this city in our country. We are increasing every year the figure of visits from Spain and Manchester is living a golden age as one of the coolest cities in the UK. We are sure this is only the beginning and we will keep working hard to show how fantastic is Manchester for travellers with its rich history, heritage and cool vibes that can be found on each corner of the city.”
Notes to editors:
*Source: International Passenger Survey 2017