Interview with our president Emiliano Garayar
We are about to close a historic year, a very complicated year for the sector, with great challenges that had to be faced in order to survive. Today, in the blog, we gather the reflections of Emiliano Garayar, President of GAT, Gestión de Activos Turísticos.
Tourism has faced its Great Crisis. What are the pending subjects to pass such a tough exam?
I think that for the first time Tourism has been aware of its “orphanhood”. The main driving force behind the Spanish economy, always giving, when the time has come to ask for the support of society and the public authorities, in reciprocity to so much wealth that it has created uninterruptedly for decades, has been met with indifference, if not disregard, at the highest social and political levels. In the past, the sector complained of a certain irrelevance in the “salmon pages”. Unfortunately, it was not irrelevance but rather a lack of consideration for an economic sector perceived by many as not very sustainable, with little added value, with precarious working conditions, anchored in outdated models of exploitation, etc.
Reversing all these perceptions, and obtaining the social and political recognition that the sector deserves … that is the great challenge. In economic terms, to regain control of the client, and not continue to live off a client “loaned” by agents in the issuing markets or by the managers of the connectivity of our markets with the markets of origin.
In the case of GAT, what has this 2020 meant – a challenge, a reinvention, new opportunities?
A company with a 100% hotel DNA, fundamentally for holidays, with great exposure to international demand for quality and seasonally adjusted assets, has initially suffered a very hard economic and psychological impact, which was totally unforeseen. However, the company has been able to recover and re-arm itself at great speed, ending the year with impressive market traction in its commitment to a model of sustainable active tourism that adds value to its environment; advising investors and contributing to the value of its assets through extremely rapid adaptation to the new financial and business environment; generating new business opportunities; reinforcing its direct distribution capacities; expanding its human team …
But above all, I personally have been even more amazed and overwhelmed by the enormous quality and commitment of our team. At the height of the pandemic, the greater the difficulties, the more decisive their contribution has been to overcoming the obstacles and to the success of the company. I cannot express in words the depth of my gratitude and recognition. It sounds like a cliché, but I say it with the deepest conviction.
Leaving these months behind and thinking, projecting the immediate future, what do you think are the strengths, the pillars on which the sector and the companies in the sector must rely to maintain themselves, grow, evolve?
Companies must think about the micro rather than the macro. If their value proposal makes sense in the present and future circumstances. I am not one to evangelise, but in my humble opinion, two achievements are enough: regaining control of the client; and creating an attractive value proposal for the client. If what you do has value, is attractive, and you know how to sell it, your success is assured. The “how” is everyone’s responsibility.
Markets are changing, players are looking to reposition themselves after the upheaval, what role does GAT want to play in this scenario? Specialisation, diversification, growth in any case?
GAT is a company that was born in 2009, somewhat ahead of its time. As the future is already here, the opportunities for TAG are multiplying. TAG in this environment will grow, not just because it is itchy to be bigger, but because it is better, and contributes to the much-needed change in the sector, and to its economic and social value.
Finally, a wish for 2021
May health respect us. May work and love be taken care of.