Hospitality Management

Hospitality management in Spain

TOURIST REGIONS:

The stereotypical image of Spanish tourist resorts where all nationalities look for sun, sea and sand can be found in the South of Spain and the Islands. The Balearic Islands, Canary Islands and Andalusia have warm temperatures during most of the year and so tourists flock to their beaches. The centre of Spain attracts tourists who are looking for culture. Madrid, Spain's capital city has many cultural attractions such as the Reina de Sofia art museum. Finally, tourists looking to explore Spain's mountains head to the Northern regions such as Cantabria and the Basque country.

See detailed map of Spain

CULTURE:

The Spanish way of life is fairly relaxed in comparison with other countries. Spanish people eat their main meal at lunch time which is around 2 o'clock. Therefore, they do not eat dinner until 9 or 10 at night. Consequently, restaurants do not open and get busy until this time.

Food and wine form an essential part of Spanish culture. The Spanish people have made eating and drinking an art form and a social event in which both natives and visitors participate. Tapas, pinchos, paella, fish in blood or Rioja wines are all dishes which any visitor must taste and enjoy.

Much of Spanish life is lived in the streets and the atmosphere is especially vibrant at fiesta time. On a warm evening the street cafes and bars can fill to capacity as people sit and relax.

The Spanish way of life is somewhat slower than the rest of Europe, especially in the south. This may be seen as lazy, but when the Spanish work, they work hard. They have adapted to the weather and play hard too. It is quite common for life to begin when the sun goes down, especially in the summer. They are a very happy people who enjoy life to the full. They love music, dance and food.

The Spanish calendar is full of popular holidays. Some are famous throughout the world. A few of Spain´s most enjoyable fiestas you can participate in are: the April holiday in Seville, "las Fallas" in Valencia, Carnivals in Cádiz, Sanfermines in Pamplona or "Semana Grande" in Bilbao.

Spain has always been famous for its bull-fights which are undergoing a new lease of life with a great increase in interest. In Spain the bullfight is called the Fiesta Nacional (The national Sport). However, the most popular past time is football. The Spanish league is famous throughout the world and clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona or Athletic Bilbao generate passion for the sport both within and outside Spain. These football teams can be seen playing in the Champions League or other European competitions.


LANGUAGE:

Most Spanish people are able to speak basic English as it is compulsory in school. However, to really make the most of your time in Spain, you should be using and developing your Spanish skills rather than relying on others speaking English. In general the Spanish spoken throughout Spain is fairly similar but there are differences in the pronunciation between the North and the South.


COMMERCIAL HOURS:

Spanish commercial hours are normally 9.30 to 2pm and 5pm till 8pm which allows the Spanish people to have lunch and a siesta. If this is not something you are used to, you need to allow for it i.e. not go shopping in the afternoon but in the morning or evening. Department stores, supermarkets and shopping centres will stay open 9am until 9pm without closing for lunch. However, banks and public services are only open on weekday mornings.


WEATHER:

The Spanish climate is different in the North to in the South. Most of Spain experiences pleasant or hot temperatures from April to early November however, summer in the south (Andalusia) begins in March and there are many warm, sunny days throughout the winter. However, the Northern and North-Western coasts have a milder climate with warm temperatures from May to October but mild temperatures and frequent rain from October.


VISAS:

EU, Norwegian and Icelandic nationals do not need a visa no matter how long they intend to stay in Spain or what they intend to do. Citizens from the US, Canada, Australia, Mexico and the majority of Latin American countries do not need a visa in order to enter Spain unless they wish to stay in the country for more than 90 days. For visits longer than 90 days it is necessary to ask for a visa in the Spanish consulates, the process in simple and takes 4 weeks.


HEALTH AND SAFETY:

The Spanish healthcare system is very good. Emergency healthcare can be obtained by using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) but this does not extend to non urgent treatment such as maternity care or vaccinations. This is available for members of the EU and participants in the EHIC scheme (e.g. Iceland and Norway).

For visitors from other countries such as the US, Canada, Australia or Mexico it is recommended to take out an insurance policy which covers medical expenses in case of illness. The Spanish Healthcare system will see any patient but will charge visitors from outside Europe. Therefore it is a very good idea to have a policy which covers these circumstances.


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