The Costa del Sol has long been known for its numerous sun-drenched beaches that attract millions of holidaymakers every year, especially those in Torremolinos and Marbella. Some of the most popular beaches in these two world-renowned tourist resorts have recently been awarded the coveted 'Q' for quality status from the Spanish institute for quality tourism (ICTE).
The 'Q', which is only awarded to beaches that meet stringent requirements set down by the ICTE, is a specific quality certificate for the tourism sector that guarantees users of the beaches a high standard of services, professionalism and safety. To achieve the distinction, a series of criteria need to be met. These include daily control of the quality of the water; accessibility for people with disabilities; toilets and showers that comply with specified standards; security and first aid.
The latest beaches in Torremolinos to receive this status are La Carihuela, Bajondillo, Playamar, and Los Álamos. The beach in Los Álamos also received its first Blue Flag last month, a certification that further endorses the excellence and accessibility of the beaches in Torremolinos.
Torremolinos town hall began an ambitious plan to improve the town's seven kilometres of beaches last year in order to meet the demand of this year's summer season. The resort is currently undergoing a complete renovation and the new quality status of its beaches is part of the council's drive to reinstate the town as a quality tourist destination.
Mayor of Torremolinos, José Ortíz, said: "In a little over a month, Torremolinos has established itself as a benchmark of the Andalusian and Spanish coastline, receiving two important distinctions for our beaches. We live from tourism and this status is important to demonstrate the excellence of our town."
Marbella wins too
Marbella received distinctions for its beaches in La Venus, El Faro, Nueva Andalucía, Puerto Banús, Cabopino and San Pedro Alcántara, with an extra recognition from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for the natural enclave of the Dunas de Artola. The beaches, which already have Blue Flag status, have been recognised by the ICTE for improving bathers' awareness of safety regulations, the environment and health. The beaches have also been made accessible for people with reduced mobility and include specially adapted showers and toilets.
"The beaches were inspected by a team of 40 specialists, each responsible for evaluating different aspects," explained the director general of ICTE, Fernando Fraile.
He went on to say that the status is not only good for the many thousands of tourists that visit each year, but also for the locals, because "the standard and quality of the beaches is good for everyone".
Councillor for Environment and Beaches at Marbella town hall, Manuel Cardeña, also announced that the Puerto Deportivo de Marbella, the oldest of the four marinas in Marbella, hopes to receive the 'Q' for quality in September. If successful, it would become the first in Spain to receive the status.