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The 2016 Tourism Awards back innovation, competitiveness and professional achievement

  • Botanical Garden
    Botanical Garden
  • Botanical Garden
    Botanical Garden
  • Torre Loizaga
    Torre Loizaga
  • Torre Loizaga
    Torre Loizaga
04/10/2016
The 2016 Tourism Awards back innovation, competitiveness and professional achievement
The winners are Torre Loizaga, the Santa Catalina Botanical Garden, Juan Mari del Hoyo of Viajes Azul Marino and the Donosti Cup

Every year with the Basque Country Tourism Awards the Basque Government rewards the work of outstanding businesses and individuals in the tourist industry. The award ceremony was presided over by the Lehendakari (Basque First Minister) Iñigo Urkullu. The Tourism Award for Driving Innovation went to Torre Loizaga. The municipality of Galdames is home to Torre Loizaga, a fortified country house converted by local businessman Miguel de la Vía into a museum, which was opened to the public in the 90s and houses one of the world's finest private collections of vintage and classic cars. Since it opened, Torre Loizaga has been a star tourist attraction in the Enkarterri area, at the same time forming an especially important resource within the range of tourist sites in Bizkaia and the Basque Country as a whole. The Tourism Award for Competitiveness was won by the Santa Catalina botanical garden. In the 13th century the most powerful family in Iruña de Oca, en Álava, built the fortified manor house that is home to this magical place, steeped in history and fully restored a decade ago. The award goes to the achievements of the Santa Catalina botanical garden, since its origins in 1999 as no more than an idea, and above all since it drew up a master plan in 2012, making the garden a tourist attraction of the first order not only at municipal and provincial level, but also in the Basque Country as a whole. The traits that identify it include dynamism and an ability to attract visitors, with a range of activities it has been organising for years, helping to deseasonalise the tourist industry as it has become a key factor in structuring the leisure facilities on offer in the region. Juan Mari del Hoyo, Tourism Award for Professional Achievement Juan Mari del Hoyo embarked on his business career in 1982 with three employees and today, in 2016, runs the biggest tourism business group in the Basque Country with 95 direct employees and some 40 indirect ones. With 20 branches all over Spain, he has built a firmly-rooted company. A special commendation also went to the Donosti Cup on its 25th anniversary. This is in order to reward the work done by the Donosti Cup since it was first held in August 1992 as a sports event, to become the undisputed tourism draw it is today, not only for the city but also for the region, as well as one of the major events that help to position the Basque Country as a quality destination with a wide range of products.

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