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The exhibition is open until September.
The exhibition is open until September. / Alberto Gómez

The evolution of tourism

  • The exhibition in Torremolinos includes mock check-in desks and customs areas with information on the development of the tourism industry from the 1950s to present day

An exhibition that charts how Spain and the Costa del Sol were first promoted as a tourist destination has opened in the Palacio de Congresos in Torremolinos.

Organised by the town hall and with funds from the Aeronautical Museum of Malaga, ‘Spain for You’ reveals the history and evolution of tourism from the 1930s until the present day.

Life-size caricatures of stereotypical European tourists and characters connected with the tourist industry, painted by Spanish humorist Máximo, are on display to create the ambience of Spain’s first steps into the tourist boom of the late 1950s and early 60s.

The exhibition takes its name from the book, ‘España para Usted’, a tourist-guide published in 11 languages in 1964 by the general secretary of tourism.

More than 150 items, including posters, flight uniforms, suitcases, visas and old-fashioned ticket machines are on display, plus some of the first travel brochures and paraphernalia advertising the Costa del Sol as a serious tourist destination.

The exhibition includes mock check-in desks and customs areas, complete with information boards in both English and Spanish, which relay the story of how tourism exploded in the late 1950s and progressed into the multibillion-euro industry it has become today.

It also documents the history of Iberian Airways, complete with a model of an Iberian DC10 airliner, one of the first walk-on shuttle service airplanes used during the 1970s and 80s. A private collection that was donated to the aeronautical museum includes original works of great historical value and these have been made public for the first time.

Visitors can also see one of the original lights from the control tower of Malaga airport, which during the exhibition acquires the symbolic value of a light attracting tourism.

Spain for You will be open from 7pm to 11pm, until 31 August. From 1 September, the exhibition will open from 11am until 2pm, and from 7pm to 9pm.

Entry to the exhibition is free and can be viewed every day, except Monday, until Friday 22 September.