With 12 courses distributed around eight different clubs, Mijas has the second highest number of golf courses of any municipality in Spain, only topped by neighbouring Marbella. Golf is a precious tourist resource that generates significant economic revenue for local companies and the council’s treasury department, which is why the municipal government is keen to promote the sport in a decisive manner.
In this exclusive interview, the councillor-delegate with responsibility for sport, Andrés Ruiz León (a law graduate and native of Ronda, also in Málaga province) talks about what golf represents for Mijas and the town hall’s promotion plans in this respect.
What does Mijas offer to golf tourists?
Mijas is fortunate to have 12 extremely high-level golf courses, some of them the work of world-renowned designers such as Robert Trent Jones and Cabell B. Robinson. We have, in just a small geographical radius, a great variety of courses suitable for all types of golfers. And then there are the municipality’s excellent leisure amenities, Mijas extends over 148 square kilometres, from the coast to the mountains, with spectacular pine forests and fantastic beaches, superb gastronomy and, at a human level, very hospitable local people and a cosmopolitan population. We have 125 nationalities, so tourists who come here to play golf will feel very much at home.
The municipality also has one of the largest golf resorts in Spain, La Cala, and another club, Mijas Golf, with two courses designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones...
Yes, that’s true. La Cala has three 18-hole courses designed by Cabell B. Robinson, plus a hotel, spa and other sports facilities, and Mijas Golf has two magnificent 18-hole courses, Los Lagos and Los Olivos. They are the most extensive golf clubs in the municipality and both offer an exceptionally high quality, the same as all the others in Mijas.
What does golf mean for Mijas in touristic terms?
For the municipality, golf tourism is an important source of revenue and is one of the main sectors in Mijas, apart from being a key element in overcoming the seasonal nature of tourism, as the golfing high season on the Costa del Sol begins when the high season for sun and beach ends.
In addition to golf, what other tourist attractions does Mijas offer to visitors?
They are many. For example, Mijas Pueblo, which is an “Asset of Cultural Interest” (BIC), and is a beautiful Mediterranean town located in the mountains. We also have a diverse gastronomy, routes for hiking in stunning natural landscapes, a coastal pathway (which will soon become the first in the province to cover the municipality’s entire coastline – 14 kilometres in all – up to the borders with Marbella and Fuengirola), and beaches for enjoying all kinds of sports and water activities, such as diving, kite surfing, fishing, etc., and some like Alhamar, which is located in an attractive setting of dunes with an impressive pine forest.
How are you specifically promoting the municipality's golf options?
Some years ago, we commissioned the University of Málaga to put together a strategic tourism plan, and within that strategic plan the golf segment emerged. So we created a specific golf marketing plan, which is based on five core points. First, an essential public-private collaboration, with both the public administration and golf courses joining forces and working together to promote golf tourism in our municipality. Second, the creation of a unique golf brand which benefits all Mijas golf courses and the public administration. Third, promoting golf through a sports academy open to all citizens of the municipality who want to start playing golf, while also ultimately promoting golf’s grassroots. Fourth, publicising our golf options at various international tourism fairs, both general and specialist, where Mijas will have a presence. And fifth, highlighting our exceptional destination, showcasing hotel facilities that we already have and that we will have in the near future, such as the Byblos, which is scheduled to open next summer and will mark a before and after in the municipality’s hotel amenities.