Spain is poised for a "new era" in the technology sector, Crown Prince Felipe told Silicon Valley investors in a gathering at the Palo Alto headquarters of Hewlett Packard.

Though difficulties remain, the Spanish economy is emerging from recession, the U.S.-educated heir to the throne said.

Spain, traditionally attractive to multinational corporations, can now boast a well-trained workforce and a good number of "highly competitive" engineers and other tech professionals, Prince Felipe said.

The world's No. 4 destination for international tourists is also a good place "to do business," he said.

Spanish exports continue to grow and the nation is becoming ever more competitive, thanks to "the talent and creativity of our companies," the crown prince said.

Attendees at the Spain Technology & Innovation event, hosted by HP Senior Vice President Enrique Lores, also heard from Spanish entrepreneurs who have thrived in the world of information technology.

Entrepreneurs such as Jenaro Garcia of Gowex, which has created free, public WiFi networks in San Francisco and dozens of other cities, and Pilar Manchon, founder of artificial-intelligence startup Indisys, which was bought by Intel in September.

California-based firms manage more than 45 percent of U.S. venture capital.

Prior to the presentation, Felipe held a working breakfast with 30 Latino tech industry leaders organized by the Hispanic IT Executive Council.

The prince and his wife, Princess Letizia, are in the United States for a week-long visit that includes events in California and Florida marking milestones in Spanish exploration and settlement in North America. EFE