According to the report created by the Costa del Sol Tourism and Planning and presented by County Council President ElîasBendodo, El Caminito del Rey is supposed to provoke the economic impact of 20m euros and create possibilities for 181 new permanent jobs after its official opening. Mayor of Álora Josê Sánchez, mayor of Ardales, Juan Calderón and mayor of Antequera Manuel Barón attended the presentation.
The County Council President said: 'This kind of productive investments which bind sport, culture, tourism and environment are the essence of the province. They form us and unite us.' He pointed out that El Caminito del Rey is 'not only a tourist attraction, but it also spurs economic growth.'
The forecast is that round 250,000 people will go to the natural beauty spot Desfiladero de los Gaitanes and its surroundings, and 190,000 will visit the path. This means that there are going to be 643 visits a day (the fact that it is closed on Monday and when the wind is strong are taken into account).
According to this survey, 74,135 out of 247,115 visitors to this protected area will be tourists. They are thought to stay in the area for 1.7 days, and that 172,980 will be hikers, who will spend there only one day.
Average daily expenses of tourists will rise to 65.88 euros, while in the case of hikers, they will be 26.20 euros. Total direct expenses will reach 12.7m a year, with 7m-worth induced spending. The economic impact provoked by tourists will be greater than the one made by other visitors: 13.2m a year vs6.5m euros.
Service industries, such as trade, hotel and catering industry, transport, communications, estate agencies, as well as manufacturers and food industry will benefit the most. Total production in the case of services is estimated to be 10.68m euros, while other industries will gain 6.87m euros profit.
The County Council President said: 'All the investments made by the Málaga County Council have one goal, which is job creation'. He pointed out that the opening of El Caminito del Rey is thought to generate 181 permanent full-time jobs, out of which 113 will be due to the direct economic impact, and 68 due to the indirect one. Moreover, he claimed that the return on investment in the Caminito del Rey refurbishment (2.3m euros) is planned to be achieved in less than one and a half month after its opening.
MrBendodo affirmed that the province has become an exceptional destination for active and nature tourism, as it supplies tourists with three great attractions: El Caminito del Rey Path, the Great Málaga Path and the Coastal Path. Together they form tourist supply known as the Great Challenge, which is supposed to attract 2.5m tourists this year.
The mayors agreed that they have noticed financial benefits in their municipalities, and they thanked the County Council for this project.
The mayor of Ardales claimed that their benefits have already increased last weekend, and overcame the monthly gains. Likewise, the mayor of Álora said that bookings for Holy Week for four to eight nights have been double the bookings from the previous years. The mayor of Antequera highlighted that this kind of actions turn this province into a leader in active tourism, and he enhanced the importance of the joined effort that made this project possible.
More than 33,000 bookings
El Caminito del Rey path is officially opening next March 28th, and there have already been booked more than 33,000 tickets on the caminitodelrey.info web page.
Actually, there are few tickets left for May, which is the only period of time that can be booked at the moment.
Tourists from all over Spain, UK, Germany, Holland, USA, Denmark, France, Belgium or Portugal have already booked their tickets. Moreover, a lot of international media, like Lonely Planet, recommended this as one of the must-do experiences in 2015.
MrBendodo insisted on the fact that 'El Caminito del Rey is a gem that complements, strengthens and reinforces the image of the province, considered to be a top tourist destination.' He claimed that the refurbishment of this area consolidated this province's dominance in Andalusia and helped managing seasonality in tourism.
The County Council President, who insisted on the use of train to come to the path, reminded that the County Council of Málaga invested 5.5m euros in this project and its surroundings.