The growth of large resorts
What do Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Benidorm and Torremolinos (Spain), South Beach (United States), Punta del Este (Uruguay) and Qingdao Beach (China) have in common? All of them are today mega-resorts that, some years ago, were fishing villages or unknown tourist destinations.
With the explosion of integrated tour packages and cheap flights, all these destinations have been growing, changing the landscape of the region and elevating villages and towns to cities that live to and from tourism.
In both Spanish resorts, for example, the boom of tourist packages in the 1960s transformed Benidorm and Torremolinos into world tourism stars – Spain itself is today the third largest economy in the tourism industry, worth around € 40 billion and only “Beat” by the United States and France.
In the 1950s, Benidorm was a small and poor fishing village until its then-mayor Pedro Zaragoza Ortis decided to turn it into a tourist resort. A little further down, Torremolinos has an identical history, built a decade later. And the city’s 43,000 inhabitants receive about 250,000 visitors in the summer.
In the United States, the South Beach area became a resort when John and James Lummus decided to create a Fairy Land that could receive tourists from a ferry. Before this area of entertainment, the place was used as agricultural land and, say, without great success.
Also the Uruguayan beach of Punta del Este was little known until the wealthy South Americans decided to turn it into their holiday yard in the 50’s. Today, it grows from 15,000 to 250,000 people during the months of January and February, Summer in the Southern Hemisphere.
As in other areas, China is not far behind in the development of tourist resorts. Qingdao Beach in Shandong Province has become known for the unreal photos of thousands of people taking a shower. But the phenomenon is recent, as you can see in our photo gallery. Pretty recent, actually.
Most of these resorts have grown from cement and today will have to renew and recreate to receive a new wave of tourists, more concerned about the environment and sustainability. And this new behavioral aspect of tourists can only be good news for our Planet.