Management Master Plan for the “Costa del Sol Occidental” Smart Tourist Destination

Management Master Plan for the “Costa del Sol Occidental” Smart Tourist Destination


Status: in progress

Categorization: tourism, cultural heritage, transport, local development, climate change, urban

Country: Spain

Period: 16.04.2021 / 31.12.2023

Contact info

Name: Antonio Díaz Lomeña

Organization: Gerencia Turismo y Planificación Costa del Sol




Summary description: The Management Master Plan for the "Costa del Sol Occidental" Smart Tourist Destination is created to articulate strategies and actions to transform the destination into a Smart Tourist Destination. This need arises in response to a more globalised, dynamic and technological society than ever before, in which tourists demand more and have new needs that are constantly changing. Therefore, the Smart Tourist Destination seeks to improve the tourist experience, but also the quality of life of the resident, all under a principle of sustainability. The Costa del Sol is part of the Spanish DTI Network in which municipalities are immersed in the process of obtaining the Smart Tourist Destination label. Only 5 destinations in Spain have achieved it and the Costa del Sol is one of 16 destinations in the process. To do so, they must meet at least 80% of the requirements of the Methodology. This Master Plan aims to bring together all stakeholders (citizens, private sector, municipalities, associations, universities, etc.) on which it will be based to establish strategies structured around the axes of innovation, technology, sustainability, accessibility and governance.

Type: plan

EU Challenges for sustainable tourism: (i) preserving and giving value to natural and cultural heritage and diversity, (ii) minimising resource use and production of waste, (iii) enhancing local community prosperity and quality of life, (v) limiting the environmental impact of tourism-related transport, (vi) making holidays accessible to all, (vii) improving the quality of tourism jobs, further challenges

EU Principles: (i) taking a holistic and integrated approach (economic, social and environmental aspects), (ii) planning for the long term, (iii) involving stakeholders, (iv) multilevel governance, (v) promoting awareness and commitment, further principles

Reason of interest for COASTING: The importance of the Spanish sun and beach star destination of the Costa del Sol being part of the DTI network lies in the adaptations that the region must carry out in order to meet the 80% requirements. The Master Plan does not aim to increase the number of tourists but to improve the destination in the medium and long term. The destination is in a phase of maturity and in areas such as Torremolinos, particularly exploited. The requirements encourage initiatives such as more sustainable transport, increase of green areas, creation of cycle paths, etc. Governance in general terms must change its outlook by focusing on sustainability, including new technologies, investing in innovation and facilitating accessibility.

Financial information

: 0.00 €

Financial sources: TBA

Background information

Territorial context: Costa del Sol Occidental is a comarca (county) in Andalusia, southern Spain, that occupies a narrow coastal strip delimited by the cordillera Penibética to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The coast shows a diversity of landscapes: beaches, cliffs, estuaries, bays and dunes. It is composed by a series of municipalities, as for example Torremolinos, a coastal town in Málaga that is characterised to a large extent by its conditioning and dedication to the tourist sector. Moreover, within the Costa del Sol, it shows a particular character that differentiates it to a large extent from the rest of the municipalities. For example, it stands out for its large hotel buildings, describing a landscape of skyscrapers on the beachfront. In 2020, the Costa del Sol was characterised by the fact that 55% of its accommodation places were offered as tourist dwellings, while 61% of Torremolinos was structured as hotel establishments. Its average stay was considerably higher than the average for the destination as a whole.

Relation to policies and strategies: The Management Master Plan for the "Costa del Sol Occidental" Smart Tourist Destination is part of the Smart Tourist Destination model proposed by the Secretary of State for Tourism in the National and Integral Tourism Plan (PNIT) 2012-2015. It is managed by SEGITTUR. The aim is to seek the satisfaction of an increasingly demanding tourist, increasing the quality of life of residents and contributing to a sustainable model that improves the positioning of Spain as a world tourist destination.

Regulation framework: It is mainly based on two standards: UNE 178501 Smart Tourism Destination Management System and UNE 178502 Smart Tourism Destination Indicators. They are developed by the technical committee CTN 178 Smart Cities, whose secretariat is held by UNE (Spanish Association for Standardisation).

Specific information

Objectives: The aim is to achieve a Smart Tourism Destination. This would lead the Western Costa del Sol to position itself as a destination of higher quality and attraction of tourists with higher spending power and greater satisfaction, generating more income and involving stable and quality employment to achieve an improvement in the lives of residents. Other objectives include improving management, planning, image, tourist experience and efficiency, increasing competitiveness and promoting sustainable development.

Developers (and governance): State Secretariat for Tourism, SEGITTUR, UNE (Spanish Association for Standardisation), Tourism and Planning Costa del Sol (SLU), municipalities of the Western Costa del Sol Destination, Tourism Forum of Malaga-Costa del Sol, Tourism Intelligence System of the Costa del Sol, Málaga Provincial Council.

Beneficiaries: Local population both in the tourism sector and in general, tourists, tourism entrepreneurs of the destination, future generations by promoting sustainable development, etc.

Innovation aspects: The Master Plan is innovative in proposing objectives such as 1) Promoting group work and the collaborative system of problem analysis and selection of innovative ideas. 2) To promote the transfer of knowledge between University-Business-Administration. 3) To identify new underused spaces for tourism purposes, to promote tourism products already in use and to promote new products/experiences/services. 4) To promote new forms of commercialisation and marketing. 5) To promote the development of innovative tourism products and companies that diversify the motivational offer and target new markets.

Actions: Among the actions developed in the Plan are 1) reinforcement of the Costa del Sol brand image, 2) reinforcement of the coordination structures between stakeholders, 3) giving visibility to the Costa del Sol DTI Project and its components, 4) optimising and coordinating tourist information, 5) strengthening the analysis and knowledge of the reality of the Destination, 6) improve the satisfaction of tourists and residents of the destination, 7) improve the transparency of management, 8) improve communication with tourists, 9) promote the homogenisation of the ecosystem of tourism brands, websites and tourism applications of the Destination, 10) promote the online marketing of the Destination, 11) promoting tourist information infrastructures in the Destination that improve the tourist experience, 12) promoting the implementation of technological tools and solutions, 13) promoting the development of Business Intelligence and Tourism Intelligence tools, etc.

Stakeholders involvement: Tourism and Planning Costa del Sol (SLU), acting as the Destination Management Body, has organised and coordinated different stakeholders, including the municipalities of the Western Costa del Sol Destination and the Malaga-Costa del Sol Tourism Forum. This, together with the information provided by the Costa del Sol Tourism Intelligence System of Tourism and Planning of the Costa del Sol, has culminated in the approval of this Master Plan. The role of the Malaga-Costa del Sol Tourism Forum should be highlighted, with different key actors forming Business Development Committees that draw up and validate action plans. Mention should also be made of the Malaga Provincial Council, the Town Councils, the Association of the Western Costa del Sol, the transport sector, heritage and environmental management bodies, the population, etc.

Results achieved: In progress.

Potential for learning and transfer

Challenges and obstacles: In progress.

Success factors: In progress.

Transferability in COASTING project: The transferability of the Plan is feasible because there are already 16 Andalusian destinations that are part of the DTI Network and are in the process of becoming an Intelligent Tourism Destination. This goal is also possible as there are already 5 Spanish destinations that are already Smart Destinations. On the other hand, more Andalusian coastal cities are within the network such as Torremolinos, Torrox, Almería, Ayamonte, Chiclana, Fuengirola, El Ejido, Marbella, Málaga or Rincon de la Victoria, as well as the coastal regions of the Province of Huelva and Campo de Gibraltar. This means that a high proportion of coastal destinations are committed to this model, which is a good indicator of the transferability of the Plan.