Costa del Sol Tourism has unveiled a project that will position the province as the first Spanish destination and pioneer in the world to compensate and measure the carbon footprint of travellers who visit it.
Francisco Salado, president of the tourism organisation, said, "We want to be leaders and pioneers in converting the Costa del Sol into a sustainable destination, and lead the way for the whole sector."
Costa del Sol Tourism will provide visitors with a digital tool that will allow them to calculate their carbon dioxide emissions on their trips. Based on the result, the tourist board will plant the corresponding number of trees, or make seabed improvements, to offset the greenhouse gas amount.
"We are going to give tourists, who are increasingly aware of the fight against climate change, what they want. Technology will allow us to calculate [their carbon] impact with just five questions and we will offer to compensate them by planting trees in the province," he said.
To publicise this initiative, a campaign, in Spanish, English, German and French, has been launched under the slogan 'Enjoy yourself without leaving a footprint', which encourages visitors to take care of the Costa del Sol while stressing the message that it is a destination with a zero carbon footprint.
"We are convinced that sustainable development must be at the heart of this industry. It is a key factor in promoting positive experiences for travellers, who are increasingly showing their willingness and desire to reduce their impact without losing quality in their holidays,” Salado said.
The initiative will be carried out in two phases. In the first phase, Costa del Sol Toursim will pay for the cost of planting the trees to compensate for the travellers' pollution. Afterwards, it will be the tourists who will have to pay for it.
Salado said around 20,000 euros will be invested annually. Trees are to be planted on a 400-hectare estate in Cómpeta, in the Tejeda and Almijara Natural Park, an area burnt in a 2014 forest fire.
"We believe that this is the way forward, not only because more and more tourists are demanding it, but also because it is our obligation to fight climate change and reduce the impact of our activity," Salado said.
The climate-conscious traveller will receive a certificate and a weblink to the forest in which their trees have been planted.
The information campaign will be highlighted at Malaga Airport, at the train station and in tourist offices.