Last October 2nd in Torroella de Montgrí and L’Estartit, it took place the Conference Field Trip , within the framework of the 7th Responsible Tourism in Destinations Conference, with the morning paper of Josep Capellà, who explained the experience in this municipality, the visit of la Pletera (coastal zone in renaturalization process) and a boat trip on the Nautilus to the Medes Islands Marine Reserve. In the afternoon a very lively round table was celebrated with the participation of the following:
- Martin Brackenbury, former president of the International Federation of Tour Operators (IFTO), who was involved in council-led efforts to ”rebalance” tourism in Calvià, Mallorca.
- Josep Capellà, consultant and with decades of involvement in Torroella de Montgrí – L’Estartit
- Luís Falcon, from Intelligent Coast
- Maurici Carbó, Manager of Lloret Turisme
- Purificación Díaz member of the architects team of the land plan of Torroella de Montgrí – L’Estartit in 2003
- Peter Lane, destination management and sustainability consultant and planner.
The venue of the paper was the Museu de la Mediterrània in Torroella de Montgrí – Estartit
Some of the conclusions are described right away:
– The coastline is still a main environment for holidaymaking, both for conventional holidays and also for new types of holidays, based on active tourism and global discovery.
If we look at products offered by active tourism operators (British, French, German,…), for example walking and cycling holidays, we see that a lot of them take place in coastal areas or at least at some point during the vacation the tourists have sea views.
– There is not an unique coastal destination model. According to its initial planning and visitors typology which has been addressed, we can see very diverse models.
– We need to keep in mind that tourist offer in these destinations is made up of small and medium-size businesses who have no possibility of “delocalization”.
– The only possibility of economic survival for many of these businesses, located in sun, sea and sand areas, is to extend the number of days of high occupancy.
The new active tourism products are vital because they are usually offered in periods of low season.
The role of new products is not only important in terms of occupancy but also in terms of marketing strategy because this kind of activities can only be practiced in quality environments.
Sea, sun and sand destinations are often perceived as banal destinations. If they can offer this kind of new products, they proof that they have quality resources either in their own destination or in the area around them.
– As we have seen in the case of Torroella de Montgrí-L’Estartit, some of the essential tools to ensure survival of these destinations and to reposition them in the tourist markets have a lot to do with the model of urban development adopted.
– The regeneration process of these destinations is a long process. Coastal destinations which have developed during the last 30 or 40 years need a continuous work, which have to take the following requirements into account: consensus with the local population, political and business leadership in the short and long term and results indicators to check the advance of the process.
– Conservation and creation of value for natural and cultural heritage is the main asset when different development models have to be made compatible.
– Another key element, which is at the same time very difficult to change, is the vision that business owners need to have. If mass tourism works on the base of economies of scale, when working within the new tourist models that are becoming popular, we need to work based on economies of product range.
Article: DCB Turisme i Desenvolupament Local @DCBTurisme