KAPELLN, Austria – Cantabria and the Basque Country next spring will welcome some 1,500 Austrian tourists divided into dozens of groups thanks to an agreement with the Raiffeisen banking group made public Thursday near Vienna.
Raiffeisen Reisen, the travel agency of the Raiffeisen banking group, the third largest in the Alpine nation, since 1995 has offered organized trips abroad with half-board for groups of 20-35 customers of the financial entity.
“Spain seems to us to be a very attractive destination and we think we’ve found a very pretty part of Spain for (the trip),” Bernd Knoflach, the general manager of Raiffeisen Reisen, told EFE.
The Austrian company on Thursday at Thalheim Castle, some 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of Vienna, organized an event to present this trip before the board members of about 100 Raiffeisen branch offices in eastern Austria.
The event included not only the presentation of the Basque Country, known as Euskadi, and Cantabria – both in northern Spain – as tourist destinations but also a performance by Bilbao soprano Amaia Urtiaga and a wine tasting.
The capital of Cantabria – Santander – will be the focal point of these seven-day spring trips, which will take place consecutively starting on April 18 and will conclude on June 6.
Visitors will spend seven nights in a downtown Santander hotel and each day will be transported to a different location in the region, including Altamira cave near Bilbao and Vitoria.
This will be the second time that Raiffeisen customers will visit Spain, the first such set of trips being organized to Catalonia and Aragon in 2006.
The participants will be customers of the bank from the rural parts of Austria, most of them over 60 years of age, Knoflach said.
In fact, the groups that book these trips to various spots around the world are usually made up of the same people year after year. “Between 80 percent and 90 percent of our customers participate each year in our trips,” said the head of Raiffeisen Reisen.
With this trip to Cantabria and the Basque Country, the Austrian banking group hopes to make about two million euros (about $2.2 million).
“We already have many reservations, even before the presentation of the trip. We’re very satisfied,” Knoflach said.