Tourism is one of the main contributors to Spain’s prosperity, as it represents more than 10% of GDP. The attractiveness of the country internationally as a tourism destination is key, as it is to have a well designed strategy. In 2012, the ministry approved the “National and Integrated Tourism Plan” to 2015, with the goal of improving the sector.
The Plan does not discuss all categories of tourism, and where the country should focus, but, for example, proposes increasing experiential tourism as a diversification from the traditional sun&beach. Additionally, there is a plan to put in value the cultural, natural and eno-gastronomical resources of the country and complementing the offering with preventive health services for aging European customers.
Tourism categories there are many; sun&beach, cultural, MICE, urban, rural, gastronomic, nature, etc. There is one related to technology and energy that, although small, I think should be promoted: technology-energy tourism (TET). Why?
It would mean mixing two of Spain’s biggest strengths, renewable resources and tourism, and at the same time would become more eco-tourism or sustainable tourism.
Tourism, as any other activity has to become more sustainable, as is presented in a very interesting document I recommend: “Guide to sustainable tourism 3rd ed” from Blue&GreenTomorrow. CO2 emmission-free travel using EVs, train, and staying in net-zero emmission hotels (such as the ITER in Tenerife) has to grow to cover this demand. Another example is Andaman island Zero-E strategy.
In fact, Spain has impressive TET resources, such as the 100% renewable island El Hierro, with it’s wind and hydro generation where ABB participates and is visited regularly by international authorities inspired to do the same in other islands.Gemasolar, is probably one of the most admired CSP Power Plants in the world.
The tower, a true “solar lantern” can be admired from at least 30 km.
Another CSP Plant worth tourist sightseeing is Puerto Errado Plant in Calasparra, unique in it’s size for fresnel technology and also a beauty to see (attached my pic of the offical opening of PE2). The impressive effect of these landscapes capturing the sun is probably the reason photographer José Manuel Ballesteros include pictures of spanish solar power plants in his expo; “Bosques de luz”. (Forests of light).
Spain has also one of the most admired Smart City Projects, in Málaga, where the technology showroom can be visited by tourists, a step from the seafront. A less well-known city, Gotarrendura, where Saint Teresa was born, has already developped it’s own TET tourism to visit solar power plants and solar termal technology.
Hydro power plants in the country have excellent natural landscapes and can be visited during a trekking trip, as Vall de Ribes proposes as a TET active tourism plan.
To conclude with wind energy, in Mallorca, it is possible to see in Campos refurbished traditional windmills for electricity generation, both a heritage and a technology project worth a visit.