THE TOURIST POTENTIAL
The coast is the tourist jewel under the sun of an Andalusia which is speckled with white towns with whitewashed houses; it is the richest and most universal heritage, the most valuable in the province of Málaga. There are few places in the world, with such short distances as there are between these places and others from Manilva in the most western part to Nerja in the east, which have 161 kilometres of coast with the best beaches and secluded coves, with the largest concentration of marinas on the Spanish coast, and rocks for the delight of fishermen and scuba divers. There are some that say, with reason, that the whole Málaga coast, its dozens of splendid beaches, together with the climate, is the main tourist resource of Malaga and thanks to this conjunction of sun and sea, the Costa del Sol has become, with the passing of the years, the most complete tourist destination in Europe, the coast chosen by most of the national and international tourism for the many possibilities it offers as to taking the sun and swimming, practising any sport, from snorkelling to scuba diving, from windsurfing to sailing, from speedboat racing to fishing, or simply enjoying the life of any of the many beach restaurants, which mark the whole coastline, trying some fried fish, succulent shellfish, or simply some sardines, baked or on skewers, with a cold beer, and your feet almost stuck in the sea.
The most known beaches and most used for being perfectly supplied with hygienic-sanitary utilities, public showers, nautical sports, nets and posts for volleyball, parking, yacht launchings, pedal boats, etc. are the following: Cala de Maro, Burriana, Carabeo, Balcón de Europa, El Salón and Playazo, in Nerja; Calaceite, El Peñoncillo, El Faro and Ferrara, in Torrox-Costa; Mezquitilla, in Algarrobo; Paseo Maritimo de Torre del Mar, in Vélez-Málaga; Rincón de la Victoria, and the annexes of Cala del Moral; the El Palo-Pedragalejo, Paseo Marítimo-Malagaueta, Paseo Marítimo Antonio Machado, Huelin-Misericordia and Campo de Golf, in Malaga capital; the Los Alamos-Playamar-Bajondillo and La Carihuela-Montemar, in Torremolinos; Malapesquera, Santa Ana, Maites and La Víbora, in Benalmádena-Costa; Carvajal, Los Boliches, Las Gaviotas, Paseo Marítimo and El Castillo, in Fuengirola; Calahonda, Butibamba and El Chaparral, in Mijas-Costa; Artola, Las Chapas, Los Monteros, Fontanilla, the Faro and Venus, Nueva Andalucía, Río Verde, Guadaiza, Los Cármenes, El Rodeo, and San Pedro de Alcántara, in Marbella; La Rada, El Cristo, El Padrón, El Castor, Puerto Plata, Costa Natura, Chullera, Salada Vieja and Arroyo Vaquero, in Estepona; and Sabinillas, in Manilva.
Along the years, many of these beaches have suffered the blows from the sea and mans actions in the tourist development of the area, which have obligated the Ministerio de Obras Públicas (the ministry of public works) to start a vast plan of ordering and regenerating the coast of the Costa del Sol, which began in the 80s and is still going on. For the ordering of the beach spaces for public use, with a special case on services, a regeneration plan followed for those beaches which lost a large extension of the sand. This operation has supposed an increase of 43% of the surface the beaches used to have, and at the same time the same ministry built new promenades, forming a new, more modern, and attractive physiognomy of coastal front. In this operation, almost impacting in some cases, there has been an investment in the last five years of more than 36.000 million pesetas, including the new promenades.
The fruits of the Civil service, in this special case, the Dirección General de Turismo de la Junta de Andalucía, with reference to the services supplied: hygienic utilities, signs, sporting areas, and the supply of machines for cleaning the beaches for the coastal town halls, plus the intense labour and collaboration of the associations of small businessmen on the beaches (Provincial Syndicate of the Beaches and the diverse groups with economic interests in this sector), more than a dozen beaches on the Costa del Sol see the European Blue Flag denoting the Clean Seas flying each morning at the top of a large mast in recognition of the quality of the environment and services. This important reward is given each year, after a rigorous examination of the correspondent file, by the European Environmantal Education Fund, with the collaboration of the European Commission Union.
The small and medium size businessman, the usual component of the numerous collective which stands on the 161 kilometres of the Malaga coast, undertook a decisive ordering and modernizing under the management of the Coast Demarcation. The old and insalubrious beach stalls, changed in a few years to the modern offer of beach restaurants, kiosks, beach beds, etc., which has meant a gradual thousand million investment from Manilva to Nerja. The old beach stalls only conserve their quaint name without the pejorative association to the former service of food and drinks.