José Francisco Adell Duacastella, CEO of Grupo Julià
What does the company specialize in?
We are one of the main tourism and transport services companies in Spain. With 1600 employees working in 40 cities in 10 countries, in 2019 we achieved a turnover of 343 million euros.
When did you start to work in this company?
Autocares Julià, the foundation of today’s group, was originally created in 1933 by three partners, one of whom was my grandfather. I joined in 1999, first as assistant manager at Julià Tours Argentina, and later as commercial director of Julià Tours Spain and general manager of Autocares Julià. These positions helped me to gain a deep understanding of a multifaceted and complex sector. I have been Managing Director since 2007.
What do you like most about your job?
I love the daily contact with the team, the opportunity to launch new tourism products and services both in Spain and internationally, and working with outstanding professionals and partners who have a great understanding of our demanding sector. In spite of inevitable difficulties, we are enjoying and learning a great deal from the internationalization of the City Tour tourist bus brand and the Julià Travel incoming tourism brand.
And what do you like least?
Having to make so many business trips throughout the year. This prevents me from being able to dedicate time to family, friends, and sport, which keeps me fit and which I love.
What do you think your company is particularly good at?
As far as the daily work is concerned, we try to create a relationship of trust and commitment with our customers and suppliers and generate positive and long term relationships. In terms of specialization, I think that we are the most innovative city incoming service operator in the field.
What is your main challenge?
Maintaining our position as one of the leading companies in the sector at a particularly difficult and delicate time. I believe that we have to work hand in hand with the public authorities in order to reestablish our activity as one of the driving forces in the country's economy and take advantage of these circumstances to demand even more of ourselves in terms of the quality and sustainability of our services.
Where is your company located? Do you know why this place was chosen?
The company’s original location was in Plaça Catalunya in Barcelona, which is about as central as you can get! Later, we moved to Carrer Rosselló. In the 1950s, with the growth of the company and the need for more space for our fleet of coaches, we moved to L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, a city that is still an outstanding base for us today.
What do you like most about the neighborhood in which you work?
The continuous rhythm of economic activity in the Pedrosa industrial estate. We are located in the industrial and commercial centre of L'Hospitalet de Llobregat and Barcelona, close to dynamic neighbours, such as the Fira de Barcelona, the Port of Barcelona, the Zona Franca, Mercabarna, and El Prat airport, etc.
How important is Barcelona for your company?
Since its beginnings almost 90 years ago, Barcelona has been the group’s base. Our coaches, pioneers in the different lines of business of the group, began their first journeys in the city and province of Barcelona (to Montserrat in 1946) and then spread very quickly to the rest of Spain. In the 1960s, we opened facilities in Seville, Malaga, Madrid, and Valencia, etc. Furthermore, Barcelona is now one of the most well-known tourist destinations in the world, and this has obviously helped us to grow, especially in incoming services.
Which cities would you compare Barcelona to?
For me, Barcelona can’t be compared with any other city in the world. The truth is, I can't think of a city that has everything that Barcelona has. A welcoming, historic, cosmopolitan, Mediterranean, European, and friendly city that is just the right size, Barcelona has an excellent range of cultural, commercial and leisure facilities. Any comparison would mean ignoring some of the characteristics that make it unique.
Which city should Barcelona model itself on?
I think that Barcelona should do its best not to lose its personality. With its nature, history, character and international positioning, I think it would be a big mistake to want to turn Barcelona into anything other than what it is already. I believe that we must never lose sight of the fact that we are a welcoming city that should be able to combine tourist activity with the quality of life of its residents and citizens.
What good practices in other cities would you like Barcelona to adopt?
We should be inspired by the robust ambition of cities such as Paris, London, Berlin, New York, Vienna, and Tokyo, etc., who are committed to their culture, in the broadest sense of the word. I would also highlight the entrepreneurial attitude, business-friendly approach, and business-generating initiatives of cities such as Amsterdam, Singapore, Dubai, etc.
How would you like to see Barcelona develop in the future?
All those involved should contribute the skills, flexibility and collaboration we need to continue be a world-renowned city in which tourism continues to generate both business opportunities and employment and contributes to the quality of life that Barcelona has always been known for. To achieve this, you can always count on Grupo Julià.