FSC Board Members decided to hold the 7th General Assembly in Spain, a country of large geographical and cultural diversity located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwest Europe. Every year millions of tourists travel to Spain, making it one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe.
Spain is a member of the European Union covering an area of 505,955 square kilometers, which places it amongst the 50 largest countries in the world.
The largest part of the territory is located in the Iberian Peninsula; the remainder, approximately 12,500 square kilometers, are islands: the Balearics and the Canary Islands, plus the 32 square kilometers of the cities of Ceuta and Melilla on the coast of North Africa. Geographically, Spain's diversity is immense.
There are huge tracts of wild sierra to explore, as well as some spectacularly rugged stretches of coast between the beaches.
The Spanish population now stands at over 47 million, with an average density of just over 90 people per square kilometer. Large metropolitan areas include Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza and Bilbao.
The history of Spain is a compendium of influences. Spain emerged as a unified country in the 15th century following the marriage of the Catholic monarchs and the completion of the centuries-long reconquest, or Reconquista, of the peninsula from the Moors in 1492.
Spain became a global empire in the early modern period, being one of the first countries to colonize the New World, leaving a legacy of over 500 million Spanish speakers today and making Spanish the world's second most common language.
Spain, a constitutional monarchy, is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization.
Culturally, the country is full of superb old buildings, from Roman aqueducts and Islamic palaces to Gothic cathedrals. Almost every second village has a medieval castle.
Spain has been the home of some of the world’s great artists – El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Dalí, Picasso – and has museums and galleries to match.
The country vibrates with music of every kind – from the drama of flamenco to the melancholy lyricism of the Celtic music and gaitas (bagpipes) of the northwest.
Travel is easy, accommodation plentiful, the climate benign, the people relaxed, the beaches long and sandy, the food and drink easy to come by and full of regional variety. More than 50 million people a year visit Spain, yet you can also travel for days and hear nothing but Spanish.
For more information, visit Spain's official tourism portal: www.spain.info.