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01/05/2002

The Cathedral takes part in the most prestigious tourist fairs

01/05/2002 The Foundation presented its Programme of Tours at the international fairs of Madrid and Catalonia.

01/05/2002 The restoration plan for Vitoria-Gasteiz´s Santa María Cathedral and the Programme of Guided Tours outlined in its Master Plan has, in a very short space of time, become a focal point of architectural, tourist and cultural interest. The project, which is unique as regards both approach and content, has been greeted with enthusiastic approval by both citizens and visitors alike.

The idea of opening up the entire restoration process to the general public has been warmly received by both professionals and participants in many major tourist fairs. It is therefore hardly surprising that Santa María Cathedral should be an annual attendant at some of the most important tourism events organised by the Spanish and European tourist sector. This year, the Third Programme of Tours participated in the Madrid International Tourist Fair, the Catalonia International Tourist Show and Expovacaciones in Bilbao. The platform erected in the central nave and the virtual tour were two of the stand´s key attractions.

Professionals working in the sector all agree that, although the project is not strictly a tourist initiative, since it is governed and determined by a restoration process, the Old Cathedral has, over the last few years, become the principal quality tourist attraction in the province of Alava. This is evident in the large number of representatives from both the academic and the scientific fields, as well as in the organisation of numerous cultural events linked to the cathedral restoration project.

The Programme of Guided Tours around the Restoration Works was initially developed as a means of uniting Art and History, while at the same time opening up the ongoing development of the project to the general public. However, the overwhelming response with which this initiative has been met, attracting almost 150,000 visitors since 1999, has established it as the most important tourist attraction in the Alavan capital and one of the focal points for tourist interest in the Basque Country as a whole. This definition has been confirmed by the thousands of people who have visited the cathedral since the start of the project, who have been fervent in expressing their interest for this unique experience. The citizens of Vitoria and Alava have recovered their pride in the city´s most emblematic religious building, and many people now travel to Vitoria-Gasteiz with one object in mind: to visit the Old Cathedral.

The Programme of Guided Tours has been awarded the Basque Tourism Prize, and both national and international tour operators now include Santa María Cathedral as a point of interest in their holiday packages. And as if this was not enough, at the end of January of this year, professionals at the Madrid International Tourist Fair selected the Programme of Guided Tours as one of the best cultural tourism products currently on offer in Spain.

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