Tourist Sector Portfolio and Structure
Quality is one of the fundamental pillars upon which the Region of Murcia’s
tourism portfolio is based. In this respect, the Region is both working
towards and encouraging the implementation of quality management
systems: EFQM, ISO and, in particular, specific tourist sector quality
systems such as Q for Tourism Quality [Q de Calidad Turística] and
Commitment to Tourism Quality [Compromiso de Calidad Turística].
Spain’s Q for Tourism Quality is a system of standards focused on the ongoing
improvement of working practices and services in tourism sector businesses and
organisations, whereas the Commitment to Tourism Quality is a project that
encompasses an entire destination and which, through the implementation of a
guide to best practices, aims to improve the quality of the products and services
offered by companies in the particular destination.
In the Region of Murcia, there are currently 107 Q for Quality certified
establishments and 300 accredited Commitment to Tourism Quality bodies.
Great efforts are also being made to provide the best and most comprehensive
service for visitors and to offer the highest possible standard of facilities. A further
reason behind the Region’s attractiveness as a destination lies in the proximity of
its various attractions. This is due fundamentally to the vast improvements that
have been made in communications.
In this respect, the first few years of the 21st century are clear evidence of the rapid
progress in the region’s transport infrastructure. For instance, the Madrid-Murcia
motorway means that the journey between the centre of the peninsula and the
Murcia coast now takes less than four hours. Similarly, the opening of four new
regional motorways (Zeneta-San Javier, Totana-Mazarrón, Alhama-Campo de
Cartagena and a fourth linking the latter two) has optimised travel within the
region. Additional improvements include the conversion of the northern access to
Cartagena into a dual carriageway and the motorway between Cartagena and Vera,
which links Murcia to the province of Almería via the coast.
Future projects include three new high capacity roads financed by the Murcian
government that will complete the region’s network of motorways: Caravaca-
Jumilla in the North, one linking the Altiplano Highland district with the city of
Murcia in 45 minutes, and Caravaca-Lorca in the West.
Furthermore, the Madrid-South-East Coast AVE high-speed train line will run
through the Region, facilitating the establishment of rail links between the cities of
Madrid, Cuenca, Valencia, Albacete, Alicante, Murcia and Cartagena and on to Vera
In a similar vein, the regional government, in collaboration with other institutions
and businesses, has spearheaded the construction of the new Region of Murcia
International Airport, which will facilitate the arrival of thousands of visitors,
converting the Region into a top level tourism destination at international level
towards the end of 2011.
At present the Region is served by two airports: El Altet (Alicante), 45 minutes from
the city of Murcia via the Autovía del Mediterráneo motorway and San Javier
(Murcia), 35 minutes from the regional capital via the Mar Menor motorway.
Currently San Javier airport has scheduled flights from the United Kingdom,
Ireland, Belgium, Germany (via Palma de Mallorca) and Norway.
Lastly, it is worth noting that all these improvements in communication and
accessibility have been accompanied by an increase in tourist accommodation. As a
result, the Region currently offers close to 50,000 beds as indicated in the following
TOURIST ACCOMMODATION CAPACITY
Camp sites 15.623
Total beds 49.489
Over the next few years, a further 25,000 hotel beds are expected to come
available, the majority in high-end hotels located both on the coast and in the
interior. The total investment in these facilities is in excess of 3,000 million euros
and will lead to the creation of some 5,000 direct jobs and more than 7,000 indirect
The recent creation of the Marina de Cope Consortium has provided the impetus
for the development for tourism of 2,100 hectares of coast in the Lorca and Águilas
area. The aim is to create a portfolio of tourist products and services in the Region
that is of sufficient quality and critical mass to make it one of the most important
on the Mediterranean. The intention is that this plan will act as a catalyst for
economic development and stimulate job creation.
Between hotels and aparthotels, the Águilas and Lorca coastal development will
provide some 20,000 new beds, as well as some 9,000 residential properties of
varying types. Numerous sports facilities, retail facilities, a 2,000-berth marina, an
elite sports training centre, medical centre, desalination plant and water treatment
plant will also be built.