El Caminito del Rey path has been awarded for emerging tourist destination. This award was received by County Council and Costa del Sol Tourism President Elîas Bendodo at an event of International Tourism Fair Trade FITUR in Madrid which was chaired by Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
Mr Bendodo said: ‘it is an honour to receive this prize for emerging tourism given to El Caminito del Rey from the prime minister and the minister of tourism. This project was created a couple of years ago by the Town Councils in the Guadalhorce Valley and the County Council of Málaga with the aim of refurbishing the old path that had officially been opened by Alfonso XIII one hundred years ago in order to enable running of Count of Guadalhorce’s Reservoir.
The County Council president explained that this path had gradually become a ‘very dangerous’ tourist attraction that the County Council refurbished after long administration and environmental procedures. The €2,700,000 investment was‘completely returned’ almost a year after the opening of the path thanks to 300,000 visits, and the fact that the direct economic impact it had in the area was doubled, overcoming €40m, which highly stimulated economic growth of the surroundings.
Mr Bendodo also pointed out the award El Caminito del Rey was given as a new landmark of the Costa del Sol, which is supposed to increase the number of tourists from Spain and foreign countries. Actually, 30% of touristswho have visited this location up to date were foreigners, and the route became famous in all national and international natural tourism forums as a recognized world’s hiking path.
The County Council president highlighted the effort ‘made by everybody who participated in the project’. He received the award together with the mayors of Álora, Ardales, Antequera and Abdalajîs Valley, towns that belong to the area that the path goes through.
This award, which was approved by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, was given to the most ambitious project that has recently been undertaken by the Málaga County Council. It acknowledges those public institutions which have stood out in tourism or they have somehow supported its development, have offered outstanding travel services or had positive outcome at international forums.
Some other state awards were also given during this event, such as the Medal for International Merit to Josê Andrês for promoting Spanish cuisine on the American market, one of the most important markets in the world.
Mr Raúl Jimênez, founder and CEO of minube.com (a website for sharing travelling experiences and planning your trips), was awarded with the Medal for Innovation; Cristian Clemens, ex CEO of TUI Germany, was given the Medal for Promotion; and Rufino Calero Cuevas, Vincci Hoteles President, received the Medal for Quality and Sustainable Tourism.
The Medal for Extraordinary Tourism Services was handed in to Josê Luis Martîn Lorca, president or the Martîn Lorca Companies Group, whereas Siam Park was awarded for the co-operation between the state and private institutions on modernization of mature tourist destinations. More precisely, he was awardedfor improving the tourism supply of the Canary Island and showing the way that tourism facilities can improve the attractiveness of a tourist destination.
The Centre of Tourists’ Attention
Since it was opened on 28th March 2015, little by little, El Caminito del Rey has become a centre of tourists’ attention in the inland part of the province, and one of the greatest landmarks together with the Great Path and the Coastal Path.
Tourists from all over the world have booked their tickets and came to this spot. TV stations from foreign countries, such as Russia, Japan, Finland and Brazil, reported about this place, and more than 200 broadcasting corporations from all over the world got interested in this beauty spot and helped spreading the information about it.
A new model of this spot’s management is to be executed next spring, and it will establish the maximum number of visitors a day, which could be 1,100, as well as the tickets price that should go from seven to ten euros per person. The takings are to be invested in the path maintenance.