With this post I want to emphasize that although Spain is known worldwide as a destination for sun and beach, we all know that there is much more to offer. As an example I will use the region where my company “PURAVERA” is located and will identify and define a strategy that puts us ahead in the race for competitiveness in the globalized world we find ourselves today. I work in the Extremadura region of the Shire la Vera. (“Comarca de la Vera”)
This is some data on the area:
- Climate: Situated on the south side of the mountain range “Sierra de Gredos”, microclimate causes temperatures are not as extreme as in the rest of the community.
- Natural Richness: The Shire has 47 natural river gorges and over 100 streams, a variety of habitats, environmental protection areas and a very important diversity of birds.
- Extremadura is the community with more miles of coastline with fresh water.
- Caceres is the Spanish province with more forest land.
- Historical and Cultural Heritage:
- Of the 19 villages in the region there are 5 declared of historicical and artistic value.
- There are remains of the many civilizations that have settled in the past. Roman roads and bridges, castles of the Knights Templar, Celtic hill forts, Neolithic caves, among others.
- Millenary cooking recipes (Gastronomy) and high quality products.
- Low population density: Extremadura (1 million inhabitants) is the size of the Netherlands (16 million inhabitants)
I guess many like me when you first arrive in Extremadura may not believe it, but all these facts are correct. In Spain there are many regions that share many features with this region and for one reason or another do not have a crowded tourist development. Spain has a history full of different civilizations, with a natural heritage worthy of preservation and visited; a rich and varied cuisine, excellent transport infrastructure and security more than demonstrated, among many other aspects
We in the region of the Shire of la Vera decided to go for adventure tourism in order to improve the competitiveness of the destination. Understanding the term as any trip that is associated with outdoor activities or historical heritage, which will help preserve local culture and promote the development of the region. (Sustainability as a premise)
I leave you link to a post I made some time in the community on the occasion of the World Summit Adventure Tourism.
The aspects that I consider key to improving the competitiveness of these destinations include:
- Coopetition – Cooperate to compete as a destination in the globalized world.
- Differentiation – Find the niche that best suits our destination.
- Participation – All interest groups, public institutions, local action groups, local development associations, business groups, research centers, general public, among others.
- Valorization and conservation of natural resources – we must not forget that nature is a tourist resource and must be strengthened and preserved.
- Development and social cohesion – that the ideas come out of the local population and thus endure over time.
- Training – Identifying best practices and have qualified personnel.
- Innovation – Keeping track of the strategy and incorporate appropriate measures of innovation and training. Reinvent ourselves again and again.
I am sure that this potential on natural and cultural tourism resources are present in many Spanish territories so the idea is that each zone enhances its aspects and resources that make it unique.
We focus in this new market (adventure tourism, responsible, sustainable) which is clearly increasing. I leave you link to a post which has developed a study of this market:
I think every day more are more people realize that we have exceeded the consumption level and that if we continue with this trend we will have no planet. There are more and more associations of responsible consumers who seek products directly from the vegetable gardens and are willing to pay a little more knowing that this money goes directly to farmers. Every day there are more people that care about the behavior of firms and how they operate, fair trade is booming and moving greater numbers each year. Most companies that are in stock exchange have memories of sustainability and CSR policies (better or worse but every day more). Every day the market of sustainable or responsible tourism is greater and tourists looking to meet new destinations and want to immerse in the culture and learn about the natural heritage.
I leave you link to a post where we can see some examples of success stories:
In my opinion it could significantly improve the competitiveness of the Spanish market if we promote rural tourism focused on different and unique experiences, preserving the natural heritage and place value on local resources. Besides well-structured rural tourism can not only help improve the competitiveness of the Spanish market thanks to the attraction of other niches but can be used as an engine of development in remote areas without losing its character, natural resources, cultural and historical.
Do you know places where they could develop a similar strategy to this?