7 October 2020. The Western Costa del Sol took another step towards excellence today when it received the Q Mark for Quality as a Smart Tourist Destination certified by AENOR to the Western Costa del Sol, thus becoming the first tourist destination in the multi-municipal region to obtain this certification. The Institute for Spanish Tourism Quality (ICTE) has awarded the certificate after the Western Costa del Sol passed the certification audit carried out by AENOR according to standard UNE 178501 for Management systems for Smart Tourism Destination,.
The Chairman of the ICTE, Miguel Mirones, has presented Turismo Costa del Sol Chairman, Francisco Salado, with the certification at an event held in Pasos Perdidos Hall at the Malaga Provincial Council, attended by the AENOR Director for the South Region, Mónica Barroso, the mayors of the municipalities participating in this project -Torremolinos, Benalmádena, Fuengirola, Mijas, Marbella, Estepona, Casares and Manilva- as well as the chairman of the Malaga Costa del Sol Tourism Forum, Luis Callejón.
Coast of the Sun's conversion to a smart destination involves the development of the destination based on five strategic pillars: Governance, Innovation, Technology, Universal accessibility and Sustainability.
The Smart Tourist Destination project is an initiative strongly promoted by the Secretary of State for Tourism to contribute to improving the competitiveness of Spanish destinations.
The Chairman of Turismo Costa del Sol, Francisco Salado, has highlighted that it is a proud achievement for the destination to receive this certification "which recognizes all the efforts being made in the province of Malaga from both the public sector and the private sector, and it shows that the work is being done well".
Costa del Sol Tourism and Planning has worked in recent years to position the Costa del Sol as a leading destination in Smart Tourism. The chairman of Turismo Costa del Sol pointed out that "work is also being done to develop a smart ecosystem that helps to find excellence in the planning and implementation of the Action Plan, seeking the efficiency and responsibility of each public investment aimed at promoting tourism."
Thanks to the Big Data tourism management, assures Francisco Salado. "we can already find out what hotel and airline bookings trace back to a digital advertising campaign, which means we can be more efficient in promotional campaigns."
For the company's representative, this makes it possible for us to see in real time what creative and promotional activities work best to attract tourists to the Costa del Sol with a strategy that benefits all of us: the tourist, the resident, the Malaga local and the destination.
According to Salado, the goal of Turismo Costa del Sol is to work to use smart tools, "as this will result in a greater economic impact and more jobs for the province. It will enable the average spending in the destination to be ascertained and will help us work on improving the sustainability of the province of Malaga, since using the different smart tourism tools lets us take a surgical approach to the new tourist and impact the kind of profile we're most interested in travelling to the Costa del Sol".
The Chairman of the ICTE, Miguel Mirones, has emphasized the value of the governance model of Turismo Costa del Sol which solidifies public-private collaboration through the need to strike agreements when defining tourism and promotion policies with a necessary consensus between the public and private sectors. He also proposed a challenge to the management of Turismo Costa del Sol, encouraging them to work on expanding the scope of the certification awarded to the Western Costa del Sol today towards the Axarquía region in the future. "The sum of these efforts and other joint actions we can undertake in collaboration between the Costa del Sol and the ICTE will quickly enable us to identify the Costa del Sol as a unique destination capable of meeting all the requirements the market is going to demand after the pandemic has been overcome: smart, sustainable, safe and socially responsible destinations".
Finally, Monica Barroso, director of AENOR in the South Region, remarked that "by obtaining this quality mark, Costa del Sol has proven its pioneering status at the forefront of innovation driving mechanisms in tourist destinations, capable of creating differential and highly competitive services, whilst guaranteeing the sustainable development of the tourist destination, and making it is accessible to all. Because a smart tourist destination goes beyond the use of technology, the management of the destination incorporates the following strategic axes: Governance, Innovation, Technology, Universal accessibility and Sustainability in economic, sociocultural and environmental terms".