Barcelona (ACN).- Catalonia is a small country but rich and diverse, with many tourist sites, impressive landscapes and emblematic buildings. However, the most famous and breathtaking can all be explored in one afternoon and one spot in ‘Catalunya en miniatura’, the largest miniature park in the world, and the only one in Spain. The reproductions of the buildings, monuments and landscapes, usually far away from one another, can be visited in this complex near Barcelona on foot or in a small train. Its objective is to allow visitors discover the monuments and buildings such as the Sagrada Família Basilica and other Gaudí buildings, the Dalí Museum in Figueres, the Cathedral of Girona or Montserrat Monastery. ‘Catalunya en miniatura’ is also a way to connect foreign visitors directly with Catalan culture and folklore. Now, 30 years after its creation in 1982, the family business has begun a new period selling 51% of its shares to the NGO Dianova International. The objective is to change last years’ dynamics with an investment of €1 million to achieve 100.000 visitors per year by 2014.
‘Catalunya en miniatura’ is a different way to get to know Catalonia. The model park, located 11 kilometres from Barcelona, in Torrelles de Llobregat, and surrounded by countryside, allows visitors to see in just 90 minutes the Catalan territory through its most emblematic buildings and landscapes. Visitors can do the tour on foot, but there is also a small train that goes around the exhibition in ten minutes.
The miniature park has more than 120 buildings from the entire Catalan territory, from North to South, representing all different styles (Romanesque, Gothic or Art-Nouveau, amongst others). Some of the monuments are site-seeing buildings such as Parc Güell, Montserrat Monastery, or the Aqueduct of Tarragona. However, there are also some other buildings relevant to Catalan history and culture, such as universities, churches, town halls and other institutions, such as fire stations and police stations.
‘Catalunya en miniatura’ is not just for kids although they have a lot of activities to entertain themselves with. It is seen as a great way of improving a visitors knowledge of Catalonia and its culture; a way of exploring the main features of this nation, reproduced in a scale as tall as the visitor.
A shift in its 30th anniversary
30 years after its creation in 1982, ‘Catalunya en miniatura’ has sold 51% of its shares to the NGO Dianova International. The objective is to change the last number of years dynamics with an investment of €1 million to achieve 100.000 visitors per year by 2014. David Rey, General Manager of ‘Catalunya en Miniatura’, has said that it is an ‘innovative business model’ where the values and mission of an NGO have to be adapted to the business world, and the other way around.
The business has faced a decrease in visitors in the last number of years reaching its lowest rate in 2009, with 66.000 visitors. In its ‘golden age’, during the 80s, the model park attracted 230.000 visitors per year. Besides, investment from the Catalan Government has decreased and the family business is trying to find new solutions to continue with its project.
From Dianova International’s economic operation both parties will make a profit. On the one hand, ‘Catalunya en miniatura’ will get more resources to overcome the negative situation of the last few years. On the other hand, the NGO will have ‘Catalunya en miniatura’ as a source of income for its projects in 11 European countries and in Latin America.
Dianova International is based in Switzerland and has consultative status to ECOSOC, in the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, and relations with UNESCO.
New investor, new strategy
The money invested, €1 million, will be used to make the models more interactive, to renew the reception of the park, and to organise special weekends. The new strategy also includes an expansion of the type of visitor: children during the week, and families and tourists at the weekends. To do so, the company is now negotiating with cruise companies and operators in the Russian market, among other solutions.