We all have a rough idea of what  we Spaniards think about our country, about its  strengths and its weaknesses  But how is Spain seen  from abroad? What makes  Spain stand out and be a reference point for other countries?  What areas  promote the so-called «Spain Brand” ?

In my opinion, there is an area that is recognized, admired and  always relevant in our country, both inside and outside our borders – sport. In recent years, while Spain’s image   has been  seen nationally and internationally in a negative light due the economic crisis, sport has maintained a level of excellence that has  positioned it  as a flagship for our country.

In  the last five years we have seen Spanish athletes crowned world champions in sports as diverse as football (our national team  has been both world  and European champion ), basketball (champions of Europe), swimming (with Mireia Belmonte making history at World championship level), motorcycling (Lorenzo and Márquez , the latest two MotoGP world champions), ice skating (Javier Fernández making history), athletics (with our Miguel Angel López marching towards glory), badminton (with Carolina Marín winning  the World championships against China, which has more than 100 million badminton licenses ) and a very long list of excellent  sportsmen and women  that place  Spain as one of the  the leaders in the world of competitive  sport.

So how can the rest of Spanish society benefit from the excellent performance  of our sportsmen and women? From my point of view there are some sectors of society where this can be a possibility. For example the enrolment of elite athletes into our universities and educational centres should be more widespread in order to promote the values of sport. Our elite athletes, who have already embraced these values and achieved success, should participate in the in the education of future generations. In business, companies  could be invited to associate their image with our  sportsmen while at the same time the athletes can be involved in the daily life of the company.What better way to promote your company than using the image of an elite athlete? What better way to defend the values and principles of your company than them being associated with an international athlete? As for  tourism, one  of  the lifelines of our economy, what better way to advertise tourism and give it prestige than by associating it with sport? Regarding this last point, the Region of Murcia, with Alonso Gómez (Director General of Sports), Manuel Fernandez (Director General of Tourism) and José María López (President of the Union of Sports Federation) who headed the delegation, this week signed a pioneering agreement at national level with the Higher Council of Sports to promote the Murcia Autonomous Region as a sports tourist destination. This agreement will see more events being developed in the Region, as well as creating more opportunities for training and the general practice of sports. This   will undoubtedly increase tourism, making it less dependent on the seasons (as is so  much of our tourism) while giving the sector an all-round boost. This is a clear example of the improvements we need in both the public and private sectors, in order to bring about  a complete change in society based on both the values and the approach to working that have led us to be phenomenally successful  in sport.  Doing this we can improve the current economic situation in Spain and all areas of our society can enjoy the sweetness of Spain’s sporting success. It’s time to back our sport and it is time for sport in Spain to step up to the plate and put  the «Spain Brand» where it deserves  to be on the international stage.  Will we be able take on this challenge? Only time will tell.

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