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The Marbella Strategic Tourism Plan

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The Marbella Strategic Tourism Plan was established to detail the position of the municipality as a tourist destination through a multisectoral overview. It lays out a strategic road map including short, medium, and long-term actions, which leverages competitive advantages and proposes measures to remedy shortcomings, face threats, maintain strengths, and exploit opportunities.

Current challenges brought on by a highly uncertain landscape necessitate the implementation of a more versatile, agile, and competitive working model for tourism planning and management in the destination which is also more environmentally friendly and considerate of the local population in line with the new values of society and tourists.

The next generation of destinations is already adapting to a more demanding and informed client profile. The current client profile is a profile that is sensitive to new social trends, experience tourism, is “hyperconnected” to social media, and is dependent on mobile applications and platforms showing ratings from other users.

There are several types of plans in the municipality of Marbella: sectoral, town planning, and development (amongst others). These plans set out the municipality's strategy in the economic, development, and environmental spheres, including the future approval of the General Urban Development Plan (PGOU), which will provide the area with greater legal certainty.

On the environment, it should be noted that tourism has a two-sided relationship with climate change, as, on the one hand, the tourism sector is affected by the climate crisis yet is also an agent which, through its greenhouse gas emissions, causes global warming. With regard to beaches, it is important to highlight that beach use increases in the peak tourist months whilst capacity drops due to the loss of sand and the presence of beach bars, which is raising problems in the management of such an important attraction for the destination.

The importance of sustainability in an area is tied to economic-product diversification; in other words, the presence of diverse economic sectors that are committed to complementary businesses across such sectors, such as, for example, tourism and technology. This leads towards the full use of the creative capital in the destination (engineers, artists, regulated professions, and so on) by enhancing and/or linking technology to businesses in the area. The Costa del Sol is currently a hub for technological innovations where there is an elevated level of human capital that attracts current and potential residents. The municipality of Marbella is an ideal place for product diversification thanks to the strengths of the area, its wellbeing, and quality of life. Likewise, sustainability implies limits to growth. The recommendation is, therefore, for a management culture that leans towards sustainability in all its extents, where achievements in sustainability and better development are targeted, in a switch from quantity to quality.

This document, in the first place, conducts an external analysis examining the global and local context influencing tourism development in Marbella, which identifies a scenario full of opportunities and threats.

In the second place, internal analysis is conducted, which includes a study of the elements that constitute the tourism offer (companies, facilities, and infrastructure), analysis of current and potential tourism products, tourism demand, reputation, and destination management, as well as other areas. Subsequently, SWOT analysis is presented followed by general and specific goals, strategic directions with a programme of action for each strategy, as well as the timeframes, and an important addition in the linking of each strategy to the sustainable development goals (SDG). This system will help evaluate the attainment of strategic targets.

The analysis and diagnostic have conducted a two-part study phase: qualitative analysis through individual interviews with experts in the tourism sector alongside round tables, and, on the other hand, a quantitative study based on surveys carried out in-person with the members of the working groups. Additionally, research has been conducted on Marbella as a tourist destination using secondary sources and information provided by the Town Council. It has been focused under a participatory process, which has largely confirmed the earlier diagnostic, with some exceptions which have been included in the conclusions by the research team.

Finally, the structure of the road map is outlined with the action, management, and monitoring plan.

You can download the full document of the el Marbella Strategic Tourism Plan in the document attached to this page (Spanish)

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