Thursday, 29 September 2022, 08:13
After a summer in which tourism on the Costa del Sol returned to pre-pandemic levels and at a time when airlines are making nearly three million seats available to Malaga until December, there are concerns about making sure that the sector grows in a sustainable fashion.
For two days this week experts in the field have been debating the path to take at a conference called Inbound Travel, at which professionals have insisted that economic, environmental and social measures need to be taken to ensure that growth is sustainable.
José Luque, the general director of the Fuerte Group and president of the Aehcos hotel association on the Costa del Sol; Beatriz Margallo, export manager at Biosphere; Edouard Des Fontainer, of La Cala Resort and Manuel Araujo, general director of de Exploramás-Experiencias con propósito, all called for better communication in favour of sustainability, so travellers for whom this is important can evaluate and recognise what is being done.
Luque said it was clear that the sector has passed from a situation where sustainability was voluntary to one where it is obligatory, and he expressed concern over the tax on airlines which aims to compensate for their CO2 emissions. This is something which has been announced by the EU, but he said it would make flights more expensive and that would particularly affect the Costa del Sol because 80% of visitors to the area arrive by plane.
“We are worried because it is a new uncertainty at a complicated time for the sector,” he said, and urged the administrations to set ideology aside and commit to the use of technology for actions which will benefit the industry and whose environmental obstacles can be overcome by science. He acknowledged that there is an increasing demand, especially from Scandinavians and Germans, for companies and destinations to be sustainable.
Araujo explained that Exploramás had been working on this for some time through reforestation and had planted 7,500 trees as part of one single project. He said sustainability is a necessity as well as a matter of personal conscience.
Fontainer related the sustainability measures at La Cala Resort, where recycled water is used on the three golf courses, and said they had been replanted with a type of grass which consumes less water and only needs to be watered where necessary.
“Technology is an ally for progressing in sustainability,” he said, and agreed that better communication is needed because there is growing interest among travellers nowadays.
Beatriz Margallo pointed out that there have been major advances in this field, although there remains a lot to be done. She called on small and medium businesses to take steps to improve their sustainability and make use of specialist companies who can advise them on how to do so.
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