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CoronavirusEuropean RoyalsOpinion

Europe’s royals put the spotlight on local tourism

King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain (Cuenca 2020)
Casa de S.M. el Rey

We’re caught in a flux, of sorts, as the world begins to ease out of lockdowns and restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but countries remain cautious about how to proceed so as not to cause another spike in cases.

As businesses begin to reopen, one thing seems clear: summer tourism figures will likely fall very short of past years’ numbers. Enter the European royals who are turning their attention to promoting local tourism within their own countries instead of encouraging international travel.

Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia of Sweden have pledged to use their official Instagram account to highlight their favourite places within Sweden. In their first post, featuring a photo of Prince Alexander and Prince Gabriel sitting in a field in Södermanland County, they write, in a post roughly translated from Swedish, that, “Since many stay at home this year and discover Sweden up close, we, here on Instagram, will share some of our favourite spots where we are this summer. This is to show that our beautiful country has fantastic opportunities for a fun, wonderful and activity-filled summer.”

Their second post features the family cycling in the Bergs Gård MTB Arena outside a coastal town called Trosa. “A place where there is something for the whole family,” the couple writes. “Bergs Gård is located next to the beautiful coast of Sörmland, just outside Trosa. In a charming and rural setting.”

And the Belgian Royal Family have also been showing off their cycling skills. Last weekend, King Philippe, Queen Mathilde, Princess Elisabeth, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel and Princess Eléonore got on their bicycles and rode through Bokrijk, in Limburg County.

“This summer we can fully enjoy Belgian tourism!” their Instagram account captioned the photos of the Royal Family enjoying an away day. The next day, King Albert II and Queen Paola joined the family for an away day to Ardennes, where they all hiked from the Giant’s Tomb viewpoint to the banks of the Semois river.

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Fietstocht met de familie door Bokrijk in het mooie Limburg. Toerisme Limburg viert vandaag 25 jaar fietsroutenetwerk! Het netwerk is tot wel 2000km lang. De verbluffende fietsbeleving ‘Fietsen door het water’ staat in de ‘World’s greatest places’ top 100 volgens Time magazine. Deze zomer kunnen we volop genieten van het Belgisch toerisme!⁣ —————⁣ Balade à vélo en famille à travers le domaine provincial de Bokrijk dans le Limbourg. Aujourd'hui, Tourisme Limbourg célèbre les 25 ans du réseau de pistes cyclables qui atteint plus de 2000km! Selon le magazine Time, l'expérience cycliste « Traverser l’eau à vélo » fait partie du top cent des « meilleurs endroits du monde » et constitue une expérience incroyable. Profitons pleinement du tourisme belge pendant les mois d’été !⁣ ⁣ @visitlimburg.be @bokrijk @time @limburgbe #cyclisme #wielersport #fietsen #Bokrijk #Limburg #Limbourg #visitlimburg #België #Belgique #Belgien #Belgium #FietsenDoorHetWater #traverserleauavelo #cyclingthroughwater #Knooppunt91 #BelgianRoyalPalace #MonarchieBe ⁣ ⁣ 📸 Belga

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King Felipe and Queen Letizia have been travelling around Spain to visit cultural and artistic spaces and promote local tourism there, as one of Europe’s hardest-hit countries starts to recover from the pandemic.

In recent days, the Spanish royals have visited the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art in Castilla-La Mancha, viewed Cordovan courtyards, toured the Cathedral and the Royal Alcazar of Seville, visited the Balearic Islands and spoken to tourists visiting Mallorca.

Queen Máxima, too, has been visiting cultural sites and museums to promote Dutch tourism. Crown Princess Mary has been sharing videos and photos from Gråsten Palace. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the next few weeks, we find other European royals following in the footsteps laid by the Swedish, Belgian and Spanish royal families.

We often say that the role of a Royal Family is to, chiefly, fly the flag for their country. To represent their people on the world stage, to advocate for the causes and charities within their borders, to promote local businesses and people who are making a difference.

In this new normal, where borders are cautiously reopening, and people are being cautiously told that they can come out of lockdown, all of this can go away in an instant. Thus, the royals are finding themselves representing their countries in a different way: to encourage their countrymen and women to explore locally and travel within the country; to stimulate the economy and boost tourism numbers and to realise that there are plenty of great things to see and do within their own borders.

I’m convinced this is a great thing, at the end of the day. I’m excited to see the Sweden that Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia love. I want to follow along with every weekend trip the Belgian Royal Family undertakes. As King Felipe and Queen Letizia continue travelling around their country, I hope they keep sharing the wonderful photos of the moments they’ve captured in Spain along the way.

The value they’re providing in this type of promotion can only be beneficial to their countries. I hope that other royals throughout UK and Europe start undertaking these types of engagements, as well.

About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.