The iconic Westin Palace and Inter Continental Madrid are keen to cash in on football frenzy among locals and expatriates in the UAE.
Hotels in Madrid are luring tourists from the Middle East by offering special services and halal food offerings.
The capital of Spain, known for its spectacular old buildings and a world famous football team, has 10 five-star hotels and dozens of boutique hotels.
The hotels expect the number of guests from the Gulf to increase as air connectivity strengthens.
Etihad recently started non-stop service to Madrid four times a week from Abu Dhabi, while Emirates flies to Madrid daily from Dubai.
Hessa Abdullah Ahmad Al Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to Spain, said that more than 70,000 people from the UAE visited Spain last year and that the number is expected to go up this year.
“Spanish culture with Islamic connection and football matches is attracting tourists from the UAE,” she said.
Hotels in the city go all out to attract Gulf tourists.
“Middle East is an important market for the hotel and we participate in the ATM [Arabian Travel Market] fair in Dubai every year. We conduct Starwood roadshows in all the major cities of the Middle East in order to attract tourists from the region,” said Paloma Garcia, public relations manager of Westin Palace Madrid.
At InterContinental, meanwhile, guests staying in royal suite are treated to special privileges round the clock.
“We build great relationships with embassies of the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf countries. We hope to welcome more tourists this year from the Middle East,” said Mariluz Antolin, e-commerce and marketing manager of Inter Continental Madrid.
Both the hotels focus on halal food offerings in order to attract Gulf tourists.
*This article was originally published on Gulf News on 4 May 2015. Read the original article here.