Spanish capital Madrid seeks to deepen ties with Indian metros

October 21st, 2008 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 21 (IANS) Eyeing business opportunities and increased tourism, the Spanish capital of Madrid is seeking to deepen its engagement with Indian metros, particularly New Delhi, by showcasing its expertise in the area of efficient and sustainable development of cities.”The aim is to foster exchanges between companies and economic agencies from sectors in which both Madrid and New Delhi consider strategic for their economies’ future development, technology industries, financial services and tourism,” Pablo Bautista, general manager of the Empresa Municipal Promocion de Madrid, an arm of the city’s civic body, told reporters here Tuesday.

India has become an important focal point for Spanish companies looking to internationalise their business activities,” he added.

In this context, Bautista noted that last year, several companies based in Madrid were awarded contracts for important infrastructure projects in India, such as road development in New Delhi.

On Tuesday, the Madrid City Council, together with the Asian Development Bank, the Indian ministry of urban development and the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade organised a daylong seminar here to offer governance and infrastructure examples as well as case studies on urban services.

The joint initiative between the Asian Development Bank and the Madrid City Council was conceived at the Bank’s 41st general assembly in Madrid last May “inspired by the common ground the Indian and Spanish capitals enjoy”, Bautista noted.

Turning to tourism, the official said statistics showed a “clear affinity” between India and Madrid.

“Madrid is already the second-most important gateway to Spain for travellers coming from India. Last year, the number of passengers arriving at Madrid-Barajas airport was 32,357 or 37 percent of the 87,000 travellers who flew from India to Spain,” Bautista pointed out.

In just one year, from 2006 to 2007, the number of travellers from India landing at Madrid-Barajas rose 13.66 percent.

This year, Spain hopes to attract 91,000 Indian tourists.

“To further this upward trend, the city of Madrid intends to boost tourism in this high-potential market, consolidating and increasing the flow of tourists between both countries and especially between both capitals,” Bautista maintained.

He also pointed to two other initiatives to boost tourism between the two countries.

The first is the Spanish Tourist Office that is set to open in Mumbai in the coming months.

In the other, public and private companies, institutions from the tourism sector and the Madrid City Council “are working to making direct flights to and from India a reality and turn Madrid-Barajas into the main hub between Asia and Latin America.

Travellers from India to Spain have now to fly to a European hub like Frankfurt or Paris and then take a flight to Madrid, Barcelona and other cities.

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