Open Jaw

From Pulsing Barcelona To The Glorious Costa Del Sol

With ACV’s expanded collection, Spain is ‘Olé!’ in every way

It’s the second most popular tourism destination in the world. It has a wildly diverse topography, a rich culture of many influences and a proud history. It is also justly famous for its wonderful cuisine and fabulous wine.

To that we say: Viva España! Long live Spain!

Air Canada Vacations is paying tribute to this ever-popular and surprisingly affordable destination by giving Spain an expanded place in the 2020 Air Canada Vacations Europe collection. From independent escapes to guided vacations, cuisine-centric trips for food fanatics to Mediterranean cruises departing from Barcelona, there’s something for a wide range of tastes. And to those with the luxury of time, ACV is also introducing long-stays on the sun-blessed Costa Del Sol for up to 28 days.

Open Jaw spoke with ACV Senior Director Strategy and Business Development Luigi Iannello about the 2020 Europe product in general, and the Spanish component specifically. This is a man who clearly loves his job and takes great pride in the product.

Complimented on the attractiveness and ease-of-use of the 276-page print and online ACV Europe 2020 brochure, Iannello says it’s a different animal from older versions that told consumers what they could buy, with little customization possible.

“I don’t want travel advisors to think of our brochure as a Sears catalogue. It’s a travel guide that lets agents and customers plan the trip that’s right for them. We offer the must-sees, but we’re also adding tours, excursions and experiences that get off the beaten track and let people see the authenticity.”

A look through the 15-page Spain section in the brochure finds a wide range of à la carte options – flights, accommodations and experiences – in Madrid and Barcelona. Then there are independent escapes, like ‘Plazas, Palaces & Paintings’ based in Madrid; ‘Hola, Barcelona; ‘A Spanish Trilogy’ featuring Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona; and ‘Travel Through History,’ which explores Madrid, Córdoba, Seville and Barcelona.

New for 2020 is a tastebud-tantalizing independent escape dubbed ‘Epicurean Adventure In Barcelona.’ This food-focused escape will have your clients tasting tapas and paella, sipping cava and Spanish wines, attending a cooking class and enjoying a hosted dinner at a local home. Not your average packaged tour! More perks with this package include a skip-the-line visit to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia and an evening walking tour with stops for wine and tapas.

“Those kinds of experiences, that’s the DNA we’re trying to create for ourselves at Air Canada Vacations,” Iannello says. “We know that Spain is a very popular destination and that everybody wants to go to Barcelona, we want to bring awareness to more unique areas, perhaps outside the city centres, so that our travellers can return with an even bigger sense of amazement!

ACV is accomplishing this while also making it simple – bundling experiences, transportation and transfers in ways that make it seamless for travellers and easy for travel advisors.

“That’s our strength. It’s all included. It’s their vacation and they want everything to be as perfect as possible. We make it easy,” says Iannello.


Another new offering for 2020 is short- and long-stays on Spain’s Costa Del Sol, where golden beaches and excellent golf courses share space with majestic Moorish architecture and medieval towns. Here’s a sample itinerary at the Melia Costa Del Sol. The independent escape ‘Madrid. Andalusia. Arriba!’ also takes in Spain’s sunshine coast as well as visiting Madrid, Granada, Córdoba and Seville.

“Spain is a fabulous destination. And when I look at the value included for the price, especially with early booking incentives, I’m convinced this is the best offer in the marketplace,” Iannello says.

In partnership with Tourism Spain.


Ken Swan
November 07, 2019 at 14:18

I want to live full-time in Spain. This trip would help me a lot in planning where to stay.


Enter Code: