The King and Queen of Spain attended the opening of the FITUR 2022 International Tourism Trade Fair at the IFEMA exhibition centre in Madrid to support this great event that promotes such an important industry as tourism.
During their traditional visit to FITUR, Don Felipe and Doña Letizia personally checked out the tourism offerings and proposals from many of the countries taking part in this extremely important fair, which kicked off on Wednesday 19 January and will run for five days. During their stay at FITUR, the King and Queen of Spain also paid a special visit to the stand of Morocco, a neighbouring country and traditional partner of Spain for decades, to talk to Moroccan representatives from the tourism sector and to see what the Alawite kingdom has to offer.
This event is the first annual meeting point for world tourism professionals and the leading trade fair for inbound and outbound markets in the Ibero-American sector.
FITUR is a unique forum to promote brands, present new products, learn about the latest trends and fill the agendas of contacts and prospects for a sector as important for so many countries as tourism.
With this fair as a frame of reference, the King and Queen of Spain visited Morocco's stand at the fair, in what is interpreted as yet another gesture by the Spanish Crown towards the North African country. A necessary rapprochement after the recent diplomatic problems between the two countries, especially following the presence in Spain of Brahim Ghali, leader of the Polisario Front, to be treated for a serious respiratory ailment in a hospital in Logroño. This sparked protests from the Kingdom, which felt that it had not been properly informed by a country considered an ally. This inconvenience was followed by other episodes that further strained relations, such as the entry of thousands of illegal Moroccan immigrants through the Ceuta border and the withdrawal of the Moroccan ambassador from Madrid. Underlying all this was also the situation that Morocco feels it does not have sufficient Spanish support for the recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara. This recognition has come from other major nations such as the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.
In recent times, Spain has taken steps to improve diplomatic ties with Morocco. Most notably, through the work of the new Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, who recently met with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to signal that both Spain and the US agreed to join forces to resolve the Western Sahara conflict.
A couple of days ago, King Felipe VI, at a reception in Madrid for the diplomatic corps, said that the governments of Spain and Morocco 'have agreed to jointly redefine a relationship for the 21st century, on stronger and more solid pillars'. "Now, both nations must walk together to begin to materialise this new relationship now", explained the King of Spain, who also pointed out that "it is a question of finding solutions to the problems that concern our peoples".
The Spanish monarch sent a clear message of understanding with the Alawi kingdom at this reception, which is in addition to the symbolic visit to Morocco's stand at FITUR. Signals that mark the path towards diplomatic reconciliation between two countries that are destined to be partners and allies in the Mediterranean, such as Spain and Morocco.