Manuel Butler returns to UK to lead Spanish Tourist Office

Manuel Butler has returned to Turespaña – the Spanish Tourist Office – as its new director in the UK.

He is joined by new deputy director, Pedro Medina (pictured right), in the London office. They took over from Javier Piñanes and Carlos Ruiz, respectively, at the start of September.

Manuel Butler (pictured left) has held senior roles in Spanish tourism promotion for more than 25 years.

He served as tourism counsellor with the STO in the UK from 1999 to 2004.

Other roles include counsellor for the Spanish embassy in Berlin, head of the STO in Miami and Frankfurt, and working as director-general in the central offices of Turespaña in Madrid. Butler re-joins Turespaña in London after a three-year stint as executive director of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO.

Medina has extensive legal and international experience, having served in the ministries of trade and tourism, and foreign affairs.

He has also worked in the UK before, having been chancellor of the Spanish Embassy in London.

Under their new leadership, Turespaña aims to re-establish Spain as Britain’s favourite tourism destination after a year of limited international travel.

The first stages of the new strategy will see a focus on recovery before working with key segments to spread the geographical distribution of tourism.

Turespaña UK will work with the UK travel trade and British media to reach its target audience of “cosmopolitans”.

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Butler said: “I am delighted to be back in this wonderful city representing Turespaña as the director of its UK operations, having served here from 1999 to 2004.

“It is no secret that the British market is vital for Spanish tourism, and we are at a critical point in international tourism with holidays overseas once again becoming a reality.

“We are determined to put Spain front of mind for Brits looking to holiday abroad.

“There is a lot of pent-up demand and appetite in the market, so it is important we capitalise on that.”

Medina added: “We are confident in our strategy to re-establish Spain as Britain’s favourite holiday destination having taken the reins from the excellent job that both Javier Piñanes and Carlos Ruiz did during their time in London.”

Earlier this month, new figures from ForwardKeys showed the number of UK holidaymakers to Spain fell 40% this summer due to Covid travel restrictions.

Seat capacity from the UK was only at 49% of 2019 levels.

Meanwhile, tourists from Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands saw growth on pre-pandemic figures and domestic tourism almost recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

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