At the end of the eighties, it was well known on the Costa del Sol that a bunch of representatives from Disney resorts came to search for locations to their future European complex. Everyone was happy about it, authorities and locals. It meant new jobs, investment, development…
Costa del Sol was already a touristic focus, so what was the point of having this new attraction, rarely seen in Europe at that time? It looks like nobody took a moment to think about the kind of tourism we wanted to have. In the end, money talks, and it’s all that matters.
Disneyland finally landed in Paris, and we remained as a tourist attraction selling sun and beaches. But 1992 brought new connections from Malaga to the rest of Andalucía, as new roads were built for the Expo’92 held in Seville. Tourists who initially planned to stay at hotels by the sea, started to think about going inland and find out more about lovely places as Granada and Cordoba. And this is where a new business was born: fantastic day-trips for visiting these cities with so much to see.
22 years later, nothing has changed very much. We still have that kind of tourism (sun & beach) and added, the cultural one, which can be booked from hotels or cruises.
I had the curiosity of taking one of these cultural tours to really experience what we are offering about culture as a major tourist destination. I couldn’t be more disappointed. Not that I complain the places I visited, but soon you will understand.
They picked me up at 7:00 a.m. (I was awaked at 6:15 a.m.). For being someone who works here, it is not so bad to wake up at that time. But for being at holidays, it is definitely not my ideal time! We were heading to Cordoba, and we stopped halfway at Antequera for breakfast, which was not included in the price, and was even more expensive than having a nice breakfast in Marbella. But that was not the issue. A few more buses stopped there also and everyone wanted to order at the same time. Aren’t there any more places to stop on our way to Cordoba? I felt driven like cattle in a farm.
Anyway, we arrived to Cordoba. Beautiful. It was included the visit to the Mosque, its major monument, but as a free tour, not a guided one. We had one hour for that. Later we went to visit a famous patio with our guide. He was correct at every time but the fact is that nothing else was included. They gave us free time, but I missed more info about the town and where to spend the rest of the day in Cordoba.
I didn’t have a problem about it, as I am a local and a tourist guide and was interested in seeing a particular museum. But I definitely wouldn’t have liked the experience if I had been a foreigner!
We started our journey back at 15:30, and came back to the original point at 19:00. I need to say I was not happy to travel seven hours for staying just five and thirty minutes in Cordoba (included there one-hour lunch). I was not happy having to wake up so early. And I wasn’t happy at all feeling like cattle and then left alone in the middle of Cordoba.
On my way back I remembered how, in the end, we didn’t have a Disneyland in Andalucía, but I had to admit, we have one kind of. This cultural viewing of the city, with a massive group, and a light knowledge of everything, it is something you won’t keep in your memories in a special way.
Thankfully, something is going on in Andalucía about the tourism business. Young entrepreneurs as we, Voilà Málaga, are opened to a different kind of tourism. Some they call it slow tourism, which would be the opposite of a Disney-like one.
What’s the point in seeing as many monuments as you can in one day? When you are back at home from your holidays, and watch your pictures, you have plenty of them in different places but… do they tell you something? Do they remind you of a special experience you had there?
Slow tourism is our philosophy. It brings you the opportunity to enjoy the city with no hurries, experience for yourself a new culture, different tastes… No time is wasted if you are enjoying it. These new experiences will be yours and will give you something interesting to say to your family and friends (much more than watching 500 photos from your last trip!)
Why don’t you have a look at our proposals? We have different experiences you can chose from.