Spain: a luxury yacht drifting

Cala en Ibiza
Cala en Ibiza
Cala en Ibiza

The luxury industry is highly competitive because it is immersed in a constant pursuit of excellence and proves an uncompromising fight against those who try to play in without complying with its rules. Luxury companies require the best professionals in the world whether they are designers, craftsmen or salespeople, men and women who have a passion for what they do and strive every day to be better and offer the best of themselves to their brands and their customers.

What has distinguished the luxury industry throughout history, it has been its leaders, visionaries fleeing from mediocrity to find that excellence in manufacturing the finest creations of humanity: From Fabergé, to Stradivarius and following the great leaders of fashion as Coco Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga and hundreds more. Unrepeatable geniuses who, thanks to their vision and leadership overcame adversity and set the course of events creating luxury brands that have survived hundreds of years while maintaining its quality standards and values overtime.

Una céntrica playa de Marbella
Photo of a central beach of Marbella – Marbella Confidential

The great powers of the world of luxury as France, UK, Switzerland, Germany and Italy have come to create real business ecosystems for the luxury industry and thus creating wealth that benefits all sectors of society.Without visionaries, brands become blind and meaningless. Without leaders, companies lose their way and end up sinking into oblivion.

However, Spain, a country that has shone for the excellence of its great historical achievements, which is leading so many business and industrial sectors such as high-speed rail, biotechnology or renewable energies, as well as many cultural sectors like gastronomy, tourism, music, art, which is home to some of the best artists, painters, writers and sports champions the world has seen, and where our passion for excellence runs through our blood, we have the misfortune of lack of leaders who have the vision and professionalism needed to steer this wonderful yacht that is our luxury market.

A couple seeing jewels at Gomez and Molina – Photo Josele-Lanza – Diario Sur

The fact that Circulo Fortuny, epitome of luxury in Spain -part of the European Cultural and Creative Industries Alliance together with the Italian Fondazione Altagamma, the French Comité Colbert, and the British Whalpole British Luxury– only counts with 26 associates, although their most demanding requirement is only a turnover of more than 1 million euro, that their activities for the promotion and development of the sector are close to none and mostly restricted to their members is, at least, disheartening.

On the other hand, the fact that the President of the Association Luxury Spain which has about 70 brands, all premium, appropriates the term Spanish Luxury Association, and which has an activity to promote the sector further null and void than Circulo Fortuny, which discredits the sector since the beginning of their foundation and releasing such pearls in the national and regional media saying that Marbella is the second Spanish city where more luxury sales are closed after Barcelona and over Madrid when Marbella has 136,000 inhabitants against Madrid with nearly 7,000,000, and when in 2014 Marbella received up to 607,000 tourists, compared with almost 6 million tourists received in Madrid the same year, all this without having into account the number of stores, brands and professionals operating in the luxury sector in each city, I find it alarming and so absurd that I would rather not qualify.

Queues at the Prado Museum, the second most visited region – Photo José Ramón Ladra -ABC

On the 8th of this month, the newspaper Periódico de Ibiza published a kind of interview with Juan José Calvo Quiroga, the President of the aforementioned association, entitled «The luxury association’s commitment is «moderation and consolidation» of the sector» published in LinkedIn by the institution Tourism Development Ibiza – Manager of Product Development of Tourism in the island of Ibiza, whom far from being scandalized, they published and promoted it through their profile. In the interview, not only the President does not encourage companies in the sector to continue striving for excellence and neither congratulates all the companies on the island for the good work, this man makes a series of recommendations that makes my hair stand on end.And when suddenly, the President of Ibiza Luxury Destination, which is presented as the luxury market association in our paradisiac island released the following statement, I think that, unfortunately, our luxury companies are drifting without direction or hope to find it.

From left. to right. Carlos Martorrell, Yolanda Torres and Juan José Calvo Quiroga 07/08/2015 Photo Toni Escobar

«In order for Ibiza and Formentera to continue having luxury tourism they must focus on «controlling» July and August»

What does he plan to do, to hang the Closed for the holidays sign? Don’t come over because we are «controlling» the area? Does he plan to send a notification to all travel agencies around the world asking them to «control» their sales?

«We have to be more selective and not reach these levels of saturation in every area since it’s not good for the image of the island or for those who reside here year round. We must not forget that luxury needs a sustained service».

Is it the success of achieving an occupancy rate of 100% bad for the island now? With the crisis we are living in Spain and he wants to put siege to the open land? Or does he think to deviate tourism to other provinces so they’re not saturated? Is it rather that they must professionalize the sector and seek differentiation on excellence, not by selecting who he lets in or out? The selection is made by the customer, not the brands, or it’s made by brands which excel their offer. Excel your offer and tourism will excel. Why then do we, the Spaniards, spend millions in promoting tourism on the island if it’s not for the benefit of those who live on the island all year round and for the rest of the Spanish economy?

Penélope Cruz for Loewe.
Penélope Cruz for Loewe.

«We must not grow in the luxury sector, we have to organize ourselves better and move out of the way many who say they are luxury and are not«.

But this man, what is he thinking about? Who in his right mind appeals to not grow in a country with more than 5.5 million unemployed and a highly competitive business environment that strives for excellence? How does he intend to move those people out? Who does he think he is to determine who is and who is not luxury, who stays and who goes? That is determined by the market itself!!! Increase your levels of excellence, your commitment to professionalism, invest in the creation of a seal of excellence for the Ibiza brand, push the accelerator to the top and those with guts enough will follow your pace!!! Period!!

«Luxury on the island is given by «those who visit it for many years and invest on the island and we should not invest on the short-term luxury«.

That’s the spirit! If you come only to buy a ring, or a weekend of shopping and beaches just turn around, and until you come to buy a house to set your permanent summer destination in Ibiza don’t come back!!!
What is he trying, to close all the small businesses which live from short-termism? Is that really the strategy of a visionary who has set his sights on the long term or he just doesn’t know how to manage the success of such a large influx of tourists or does it affects to his and his friends interests?

View of the Port of Ibiza – Ibiza Luxury Destination

It is very painful and bloody to see that one sector, where we have thousands and thousands of excellent brands that are burning their skin out by building the Brand Spain proudly throughout the world, who are putting the best of themselves every day in the international markets, cannot expect true professional leaders who can speak the language of luxury, who can build an ecosystem of luxury brands in our country, who can chart a strategic path forward for all those thousands of brands and thousands of professionals with excellent talent we have in Spain in order to build a solid Luxury Country Brand that is beneficial to all sectors and not just for a select few.

Though, I never forget our glorious history whose feats lasted up to 800 years and are still being repeated since then until today, and I am convinced that sooner or later we will create a strong luxury ecosystem of luxury brands in Spain. Because we are Spaniards, although not for a few.

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