Spain closed 2018 with a total of 82.8 million tourists. It is the sixth consecutive year of maximum growing and, in the Costa del Sol, it is the main source of employment and well-being. Although everything indicates that it is an upward trend, there are also a large variety of uncertainties, risks and disruptions into the industry.
Being aware of the tourism potential, in particular in Malaga, and with the purpose of responding to the biggest issues that challenge to employers and managers in the industry, San Telmo Business School recently delivered, at its headquarters in Malaga, the first seminar of the Peñarroya Chair on Tourism Costa del Sol entitled "The Costa del Sol, a competitive destination today and tomorrow" and more than 100 participants attended the seminar.
Quality, synergies, technology and seasonality
During the day, where “La Zagaleta” and “Peñarroya Group” cases were used for the first time and three round-tables were held with key business leaders and managers, several conclusions were reached, many of them were recurring.
In this sense, some of the speakers stayed that entrepreneurs in tourism sector must be able to react more rapidly to government decisions and, on the other hand, try to find new ways to make government administration more agile. Therefore, it was stressed the importance of joint work and cooperation between tourism entrepreneurs and public institutions.
Another recommendation given during the seminar was considering other business models in order to make alliances or enable new partners. In spite of this, a warning was made on hotel concentration, which may affect small business owners. At the same time, national investors were encouraged to keep a significant part of the business to avoid that foreign investment funds can make the benefits leave Spain.
Regarding quality, attendees agreed that the conditions and characteristics of Malaga and the Costa del Sol are favorable for achieving a better positioning than the one reached until now. It was urged to bet on quality as the only way to achieve this and, on the other hand, to be able to raise prices. On the same line, some of the speakers added that quality should start from the bottom up, that is to say, from staff training and preparation.
Technology should be also considered in the industry and it is key for tourism, according to many experts. It allows to collect more customer data and to offer tailored services. In relation to this matter, the experts gathered at San Telmo agreed that marketing and sales should consistently improve in Spain, with the aim of selling more and better the services offered in the country.
Seasonality was another of the recurring themes of the seminar. Some speakers said that new niches or segments should be developed, such as ecotourism, health tourism or sport tourism.
Antonio Catalán Diaz, President of AC Hoteles Marriott; Maribel Rodríguez Gamero, Regional Director Europe & Latam World Travel & Tourism Council; Enrique Pérez Flores, Founding President La Zagaleta, S.L.U .; Jacobo Cestino Castilla, General Director La Zagaleta, S.L.U .; Ignacio Pérez Díaz, Director of Development La Zagaleta, S.L.U .; Pepa Peñarroya Espíldora, President Peñarroya Group; Mari Francis Peñarroya Espíldora, General Director Hotel Division Peñarroya Group; Cristóbal Peñarroya Sánchez, Founder and Director of the Peñarroya Group; José Luque García, CEO, Fuertegroup, S.L .; Arturo Bernal Bergua, Managing Director of Costa del Sol; Ricardo Arranz de Miguel, President of Villa Padierna Palace Hotel, President of Alferini Golf Club and President of the Association of National Urban Developers and Residential Tourism; José María García Urbano, Mayor of Estepona and professors of San Telmo Business School as Miguel Ángel Llano, Fernando Faces, Marisa Martínez, Eduardo Olaya and Antonio García de Castro, general director of the business school, participated in this one-day seminar.