International Journal of Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Law 2023

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TOURISM, TRAVEL AND HOSPITALITY LAW 2.1. – Exponential growth The liberalization to which I have referred above is intended to facilitate access to the tourism market for developers and service providers. This, in itself, is not only not bad, but is in line with the main liberalization policies of both the European Union and the State. The problem arises when, due to the absence of adequate administrative control, the supply increases exponentially, so that the demand increases in the same terms, generating stressful situations in different ways: environmental, social, public services, etc. This perspective of tourism growth at all costs, based on short-term economic benefits, has much in common with the tourism policies that were implemented in our country in the fifties of the last century, that is, at the height of the so-called developmentalism9. The circumstances are not the same, of course. • A highly atomized business development, characterized by the formation of family businesses with little margin to resist disturbances and with low qualified human capital (as also pointed out by the Davos Forum). • Permission of speculative practices, carried out by real estate entrepreneurs who have often used the promotion of tourism development as an excuse to benefit the interests of the construction industry. • The projection of a stereotyped international tourist image as a center of “mass tourism”. • Excessive dependence on foreign tour operators. • The suffering of problems derived from the excessive seasonality centered on the summer months. • The environmental degradation of many tourist enclaves linked to the overexploitation of scarce natural resources, the destruction of landscapes and the occupation of large amounts of land by intense urban development activity. • The progressive transformation of traditions into cultural heritage and, through their subsequent media spectacularization, into products aimed at mass tourism consumption. The interaction of all these elements has favored the appearance of tensions that are not a mere anecdotal reflection of economic prosperity. Rather, they propagate an atmosphere of doubt that calls into question its future viability. The crisis caused by the coronavirus poses challenges and also raises discussions about the type of responses that deserve to be taken into account. However, the vehement commitment to certain dynamics and the reluctance to undertake profound changes both in the configuration of tourism products and in consumer habits now leads to a scenario with very consolidated inertias and limited margins for maneuver (especially in some cases). 9 VELASCO GONZÁLEZ, M., (2020) “Políticas turísticas ante una pandemia”, en Turismo pos-COVID-19. Reflexiones, retos y oportunidades, Op. Cit., p. 132, “In the case of Spain’s tourism policy, the main restrictions are the persistence of the reference to growth and competitiveness as the basic principle of public action related to tourism; the structural problems of the Spanish tourism model; the characteristics of the private tourism sector and the cross-cutting nature of the activity itself, which goes far beyond the sectorised work format of governments [...] The Spanish tourism model was built in the sixties and seventies and since then it has had some structural problems that it has not been possible to modify, despite various attempts. As early as 1973, the public actors themselves spoke of a “quadruple concentration” caused by the Spanish tourism model: concentration of supply, highly oriented towards the sun and beach product; temporal concentration, since the basic product requires a climate that occurs in the summer months, which is also when holiday periods are concentrated; spatial concentration, linked to the coastal territories; and concentration of demand, with a very high dependence on two specific issuing markets. This concentration is not easy to change as it is linked to the country’s own tourism development model”.