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FRESH FACES: Spain Tourism Board's Monica Sanchez

New Spain Tourism Board Director for Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, MONICA SANCHEZ, shares the one thing she never travels without, Spanish tourism's reaction to COVID, and the best thing that can happen to you in Spain!


Besides your passport, what’s one thing you never travel without?

I never travel without the thrill to learn new things, to enjoy the local culture and to try new foods.


Why did you take up this particular role?  

I'm a civil servant at heart, and working for my country and contributing to the wellbeing of the residents of Spain makes me wake up each day with renewed strength to try and do my best.

Adding to that, tourism is one of the most exciting industries in the world - there is little else to think about.


Tell us something people might not know about the Spain Tourism Board?

We may be a very small organization, but we are like a family. We support and help each other no matter where among the 33 offices we're based.

We are always open to suggestions and willing to work with the industry. Our job would make no sense without the continuous partnership with the private sector and other public institutions.


Tell us one thing coming up in Spain that’s got you excited.

Right now, opening Spain to tourism, and to more visitors at the right time is what would really get me excited.


What are some of the things Spain is doing to make visitors feel safer during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Spain has issued the “Guidelines for reducing the spread of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in the tourism sector”. These guidelines and protocols have been validated by the Ministry of Health and will be reference documents for the creation of standards and protocols at a worldwide level.

There are strict protocols for hotels, restaurants, museums, golf clubs, tourism attractions, all along the tourism supply chain. At the same time, we also ask visitors to follow these guidelines as well.

A proof of the quality of these measures is that there has not been any COVID case this summer among tourists in Spain.


What’s one travel experience that really stands out (in Spain or elsewhere)?

I do not think there is one travel experience that stands out for everybody and that you can recommend. There is something for everybody, but that something depends on people's preferences, tastes, and lived experiences.

For me standing in front of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela was something breathtaking, but for others it might be to rock climb in Picos de Europa, which I have very little interest in doing!


What’s your top travel tip?

Relax, slow down, enjoy your surroundings, and do not be afraid to get lost. It's the best thing that can happen to you in Spain.

You will discover something new and awesome behind every corner and you will always have a “spontaneous” Spaniard willing to give you directions or lead you on a new path to something you might not know about. 


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Written by: Monica Sanchez as told to Mark Harada
Published: 5 October 2020

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