Bilbao - From a struggling industrial town into a cultural metropolis
From Mara Blauw, Fabia Imhof
From an industrial to a modern city. Bilbao has grown rapidly since the construction of the world famous Guggenheim and the city has developed itself into a tourism attractivity.
The course «Project Management» gave us the opportunity to have an amazing studyweek in Bilbao and to get interesting answers for our research questions from different perspectives.
The aim of our studyweek was to analyse the Bilbao-effect and how this effect has influenced the Basque region. The Bilbao-effect describes the development of the city due to the Guggenheim museum. We had 8 business meetings with different companies which were helping us to answer our research questions. We talked to the manager of the famous hotel Gran Bilbao, a world-famous chef, the stadium from the Athletic Club and more. It was important for us that our business partners were from different fields and we could get insights from many points of view about the Bilbao-Effect.
After our studyweek we came to the conclusion that the main reason why Bilbao has grown so much is the foundation of the construction of the Guggenheim. But to only build a museum isn’t enough to grow– there has to be a whole masterplan for the city. The lack of such a plan is the reason why many cities which tried to attract tourists by constructing a famous building were failing. We also learned that the whole Basque Country benefits of the Bilbao-Effect. Tourists that visit Bilbao, take the chance and do day trips to the surrounding areas such as San Sebastian or Zarautz.
Next to the interesting meetings, we also got to know the region during our leisure time. Bilbao is famous for its culinary, there are numerous of restaurants were we could enjoy the famous «Pintxos» and some delicious wines. We also took the opportunity to visit the beautiful coast of the region and combined it with an e-bike tour and wine tasting.
All in all, we can stay that we were amazed by how Bilbao is handling the fast growth of tourism and the infrastructure the city is providing. All of our business partners confirmed that Bilbao used to be an ugly and industrial city, where no one was enjoying a walk outside. We are surprised how this has changed in the recent years and we are curious to know how the city will develop in the future.
Mara Blauw, Fabia Imhof (Marketing and Communication)
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