Getting ready to depart
My memories of the Costa del Sol go back to when Spanish ladies wore black and rode donkeys and the memorable opening of the contentious border between Spain and Gibraltar.
However, Clara Villanueva, the Secretaria General of Asociacion Turismo y Salud (Association of Tourism and Health, called ATYS hereafter) – Costa del Sol, tells me that Malaga is now a city well worth a City Break and the Costa del Sol is attracting more tourists than three years ago. The recent financial crisis seems to be receding.
I am really looking forward to this trip because I will learn from the professionals how the ATYS – Costa del Sol works, who it is run by and who it is aimed at.
The participating members of the ATYS are all professionals in the health industry. Doctors, nurses,dieticians; chefs and nutritionists; physiotherapists and clinical sport professionals. Every member of ATYS is dedicated to the scheme and wants to see holiday makers and particularly Silver Travellers, learn about healthy eating and how to include exercise into their everyday lifestyle. The aim being that you will continue the programme when back home.
People in the Silver Traveller age group of 55 and over are often able to be more flexible when planning holidays. We long to escape our bad weather during the Spanish low season, October to March. ATYS hope to welcome us and introduce us to a healthier way of living whilst on holiday. This is an opportunity to take advantage of the good weather on the Costa del Sol and keep fit at the same time.
There is a selection of Health programmes on offer. The core programme is called ‘Holidays and Health’ and forms the basis of all programmes. Other programmes are ‘Golf without risks’; ‘Trekking, nature and relaxing’; ‘Healthy gourmet’ and ‘Rheumatic care’.
All of these programmes are supervised by English speaking professionals at all times. Supporting and facilitating the ATYS concept are hotels, restaurants and prestigious golf clubs along the Costa del Sol.
I will be visiting some of these on my introductory tour which begins in Malaga. My schedule includes venues in Estepona, Benalmadena, Torremolinos, Benhavis, Mijas and Marbella.
I will be meeting the people who run the programmes and learn from them what is on offer for us, the target audience, i.e. Silver Travellers. The ‘Seniors’ as they call us.
It should be a fascinating visit as long as I can get out of soggy Devon and be blown by easyJet from Bristol airport in the right direction!
• Read Chapter 2 – Finding out about the Holidays and Health programmes
• Read Chapter 3 – Golfers! A trip to the dentist may improve your handicap!
• Read Chapter 4 – Trekking, nature and relaxing on the Costa del Sol