Ovation Spain DMC has the pleasure to present Manuel Macías, Director of the SCCB – Seville Congress & Convention Bureau, has forged his career in various leading positions in the tourism industry. He held leading positions in hotels, agencies as well as marketing organisations. Throughout his long career he has put in place various projects in both private and public companies: he was the founding director of the Costa del Sol Convention Bureau, he founded and promoted the Telematics Office of Turismo Andaluz, as director of online marketing. He has also created a cultural tourism product called “Routes Andalusian flamenco territories“, managing it for 7 years. Currently managing the SCCB, a public-private, non-profit entity, dealing with the marketing of Seville as a destination for meetings and events.
Describe yourself in three words.
Positive, enthusiastic and hardworking
What is your professional background?
I studied tourism and I’ve always worked in the tourism sector: hotels, tour operator, promotion and international marketing in private, public and mixed companies
How did you get into the business/the role you’re in today?
I’ve always been related to tourist management. In 1990 I had the opportunity to found the Costa del Sol Convention Bureau, after having worked in luxury hotels and travel wholesalers. After that step I’ve been responsible for association marketing and tourism with new technologies within the Seneca project, a kind of GDS for Andalusia and from there I took the marketing direction with Turismo Andaluz. In 2010 I had the honour and responsibility to start the Seville Congress and Convention Bureau.
And now…walk us through your “typical” day!
A typical day at the Seville Convention Bureau does not exist. Every day is different. There are days where we are focused on inspection visits for events, developments of famtrips, preparation and presentation of candidacies for congresses and events, the external development of our marketing plan assisting international fairs of the MICE sector, development of road shows in different markets, and especially the attention and help to the many professionals requiring the advice and help of the SCCB, for their events in Seville to be successful.
Did you have any mentors or people who deeply influenced your career?
I had teachers, colleagues and friends who taught me ways of working and made me see the perspective of my profession. I would like to mention a missing teacher and friend: Juan Rubín, who held various positions of responsibility in private and public companies in which we worked together.
What are the challenges faced by professionals from your industry today?
We face several challenges: integrating technology and its changes in our society in an appropriate way with the idea of organising meetings that improve people, companies and the society. Also the challenge of heath & safety in events. Finally, I would say that we need to suggest ideas combining traditional experiences with the innovative contributions that the technological horizon is offering.
What is the best thing about working for the Sevilla Convention Bureau?
Without any doubts, to work for a unique destination in which it is very easy to do it. I have travelled all my life over the world and honestly I know few destinations that are able to offer a unique combination of history, monuments, culture, art, climate, gastronomy and an unbeatable value for money in Europe as Seville does.
What is the recommendation you would like to give to the younger generations interested in following your path?
The main ingredient of life is the illusion to know and improve. On one hand, people have some really excellent opportunities for their professional training. On the other hand, the domain of technology can steal time from the most important asset of our profession, which is the knowledge of the history and the details that make up the destinations in which they should organise their events.
What are the best attributes of Seville?
From the point of view of a visitor, whether individual or event-participant, he/she will find the exact expression of what we call in Spain: a city with “duende” and charm. Its neighbourhoods, narrow streets, the empathy and hospitality of its people, life on the street, flamenco, tapas, the tradition with modern services, as well as modern congress venues combined with aristocratic palaces and a wide and up-to-date hotel infrastructure. A modern exotic redoubt in southern Europe.
How did Andalucía change in the last 20 years?
The changes that we have seen happening in Andalusia in the last 20 years have been very important. We have a network of free highways that connect the whole territory, a network of high-speed trains, international airports in growing popularity due to international demand and modern and universal social services. To this we must add the important improvement in the professionalisation of the tourism industry employer and employees and a greater awareness regarding the commitment to the destination.
2018 is Murillo’s year. What’s next for Sevilla?
The history of Sevilla, becomes almost daily a factory of ephemerides and historical celebrations. Every year there are countless, but we will say that after the Murillo Year 2018, in 2019 we will celebrate a key milestone for the history of humanity that had Seville as protagonist: the first circumnavigation to the earth, begun in 1519 by Magallanes and culminated in 1522 by Juan Sebastián Elcano. Of the 5 ships with 319 men that departed from Seville, only 1 ship and 16 men returned in a hard journey that showed that unknown and distant worlds could be connected through the sea.
What’s on in Seville during the upcoming months?
Sevilla is working hard to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead. On one hand, our city is becoming well known and requested for congresses and events, an aspect that forces us to constantly improve the services offered by the city. On the other hand, we are going to host important international events such as the international conferences of PCMA, European Influencers Summit, ABTA – Association of British Travel Agents, CAPA – Low cost long haul flight carriers Conference, WTTC Conference and many more.
You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?
I like all colours, because they are all necessary in a painter’s palette to create a work of art. If I had to choose one, I would say that blue, for what it represents of sky and sea, of life and positive energy.
Proudest moments in your career to date?
We usually say that the most important moment of a person is the current one and in this sense I must say, having founded the Seville Convention Bureau, helping to build it and work for it, represents my maximum expression of pride and satisfaction.
Leaving Seville aside, I would say any white town in Andalusia. I also like Asturias very much in the north of Spain for its landscaping and the towns with history and monuments, especially those declared World Heritage by UNESCO.
La Catedral del Mar de Ildefonso Falcones.
The horse and the dog.
Professional that you admire and why?
I’ve always admired the pioneers in tourism who had to fight against the misunderstanding of many to consolidate an industry where millions of professionals from all over the world work, so I would be inclined towards one of the fathers of the trips: Mr. Thomas Cook.
What did you want to become when you were a kid?
I did not have a clear goal, I discovered it little by little, when I realized that contact with people and selling was not bad for me.
In the pop rock plane, always The Beatles. I like good music, also classical music and especially flamenco. I love flamenco guitar.
Thank you so much Manuel for sharing such interesting insights about Seville and yourself! Looking forward to seeing you in the city of Murillo!