FITUR Tourism Conference 2016
It’s easy to “sell” Nerja—I mean just look at any one of the google images that come up in your search. It’s very clear that it is a stunning beach destination, but what else? With all the focus and attention of the camera facing our clear, warm, blue sea, you miss something almost as stunning—the Sierra Tejeda Almijara mountain range setting the backdrop. It’s true—Andalusia really does take the cake when it comes to vacation destinations. It’s the perfect mix of old and new, relaxed and adventurous—plus, fresh Mediterranean tapas don’t hurt. Andalusia has managed to keep its natural charm—the culture so alive in everything from the street music, traditional foods, and general laid back way of life. You really find yourself in a completely different zone of the world when you touch town here.
Last week I attended one of the largest tourism fairs in the world, FITUR Madrid, promoting this beloved place I now call home. FITUR is a massive, multiday conference showcasing destinations from all around the world—there you can find a yoga stand in India, a Jet Ski simulation ride, and African drum shows… its entertaining just walking around FITUR, kind of like buying a ticket around the world. The Andalusia section of FITUR was large, covered in attractive photos. Although I am a transplant, maybe even a “guiri,” I too am in love with this place and believe it’s one of the best tourism has to offer. I was thrilled to be supporting the local Nerja Town Hall and Smart Holidays Andalusia in promoting the many assets it has to offer. One of the first events the town hall put on at FITUR was about Sport and Active tourism—boasting that Nerja offers one of the best year-round climates allowing people to enjoy biking, climbing, and hiking all the time. We already know we’ve got great beaches, but it’s really the mountains and accessibility to nature that make this place unique. Nerja boasts one of the greatest summer hikes on the Costa del Sol, Rio Chillar, where hikers enjoy walking through the river to access a series of swimming holes in a small gorge. Vacationers can really enjoy it all—culture, fresh food, beaches, and sport of all varieties—all very well said by our Tourism Councilwomen, Patri Gutierrez.
Another great FITUR event by the Nerja Town Hall was Mister Malaga 2016! Yes, this manly contest showcases the most handsome gentlemen in Malaga province, all vying for the top prize to bring attention and fame to their local towns. This was a huge hit at FITUR to say the least—we had our own Mister Nerja join us on stage and to meet and greet the event—he is kind, soft spoken and a great representative of the town. The planners for this event were present and able to speak about the importance of this event and excitement to host it in a place with a magical backdrop. The Mister Malaga event, held February 27th, is a great way to present Nerja. All of the photo shoots and video footage from each contestant were taken here on the beaches and town of Nerja. Browsing through the gallery of photos you can truly see that there really is no comparison!
FITUR was a great experience—it was wonderful to see a modern spin on tourism from a place that has done such a good job keeping the traditional “Spanish charm” alive. For an outdoor enthusiast, it is fantastic to see Nerja growing its active tourism sector and showing off its beauty beyond the beaches. I am looking forward to seeing what kinds of events will be hitting Nerja this year and proud of the support the town hall is giving local companies like Smart Holidays! Join us on an adventure this year, whether cultural or active and you can see what all the hype is about!