“Recovering the slower rhythms of the holidays in times gone by, enjoying the positive impact of nature and its beauty while respecting the environment: this is what I wanted this place to resonate with”.
Emilio is an enthusiast by definition. Extremely talkative and lively, he is also very energetic: his positive mood is contagious! In his own words, nature is probably what makes him feel so good: “I try to take a bath in the sea whenever I can; I love running and practising outdoor sports, enjoying local nature. I am so lucky I live close to the sea and that these activities can be done every day, so I thought about offering the same opportunity to everyone willing to discover our beautiful area”.
With the typical vigour of those who act and don’t just talk, Emilio has now fulfilled his dream of opening his campsite to the world and providing an alternative to those who are looking for regenerating breaks and nature holidays to improve their wellbeing. But the situation has not always been thus:
“When I started to manage the campsite, I had somehow inherited all the rules and features from the former management. It was very different from what it has now become. It had become very popular when the first campsite in Málaga, “Baños del Carmen”, had to close, and soon became one of the most visited campsites in Andalusia. But what looked like a very attractive business in the eyes of other entrepreneurs like me, was actually something that in my mind needed to be completely reshaped and reformed, not primarily its infrastructure, but rather its philosophy and culture. It needed to be renewed from within.”
When Emilio started to manage the campsite, he found quite an enclosed facility, where concrete played a huge part, as a lot of construction was obscuring the sea view and the surrounding features. This caused an absence of natural light in some areas. The campsite was also apparently closed towards the outside as it did not have a proper reception in its external areas. Simply put, it not only needed a physical overhaul, but also a “spiritual” renewal.
“The first thing I did was take out all the concrete structures such as some walls that had been built for no specific reason, at least that’s how I saw it. The campsite was finally full of light everywhere and the old obstructions to the view no longer existed, as it now combined much better with the charming natural scenery. I spent time planting trees, especially eucalyptus, which makes the air fresh and clean. The idea was to make the campsite a place to enjoy the beauty of nature and the respite we experience from outdoor activities, so I started taking actions to move on that front as well.”
Emilio provided the campsite with yoga facilities and a physiotherapist came over, open air sports were promoted and local itineraries made for guests to cycle. He offers free Spanish classes, summer open-air movie sessions and other activities to make guests get together and interact with one another.
“My ambition was to promote a more respectful holiday, where we not only offer everyone the opportunity of getting together if they so wish, but where we are also mindful of the quieter moments during the day just to appreciate the joys of nature, birds singing and the lovely air we can now breathe.”
According to Emilio, respectful holidays are not only in fact synonymous with respecting the other guests, but also with respecting nature: “We have to be grateful for what nature gives and though we might not be able to recover its past splendour, we need to defend what’s left of our natural resources.”
The campsite is now provided with containers for separate waste collection, information on energy efficiency for guests, water tanks collecting water that can be used for the watering of the gardens. It is also possible to recycle dead batteries as the campsite staff takes them to a waste collection centre and arranges for activities that sensitize people on how to correctly separate waste. Moreover, the campsite does have systems to meter electricity consumption so that guests can see how much they individually spend, with the effect of both having a transparent relation with the customer and increased sensitization to energy wastes.
Emilio is satisfied with the work done so far and wishes to continue. “I am happy the place has recovered and the power of nature can now be enjoyed by everyone. It is now the place where mutual exchanges happen, we do good and nature does us good, exactly what I wanted it to be.”