When you experience a tour in any city, you want to know that you are in good hands. Those who give these tours have the power to shape your entire experience and memories of that city, so it cannot be more important that they have the knowledge, understanding and love of their home to give you a genuine and unforgettable experience. In Ronda, Alex Montesinos is that guide, taking visitors on a carefully designed tour and sharing with them his passion for the local area. One of the co-founders of Entrelenguas, here he explains his sustainable approach to tourism and why he is enthralled by sharing the delights of the city with each new visitor…
What training and experience has led you to work as a professional tourist guide?
In general most people are passionate about travel. Travelling is an escape from routine, away from home. In short, travel is synonymous with happiness. I have always known that I wanted to work in a profession in which I could feel this feeling of disconnection that travellers experience.
Why is it important to travel in a sustainable way?
The tourism sector has been evolving and spiraling out of control for some time. This evolution has been driven by economics and financial gain, and hardly anyone has stopped to think about the negative effects that tourism could have. This has led to not only the mass urbanization of primary tourist areas but also a loss of authenticity, because of the corresponding social and environmental change. The misuse of the sector has meant that tourists are constantly searching for a new, more authentic destinations, as well as the emergence of new trends in tourism, such as Slow Tourism as a new hope for travelers. These days, tourists are looking for authenticity in their destinations, above all else. As people’s desires have changed, so too has the sector. Tourists are increasingly wanting to integrate and immerse themselves in their destination, communicate with locals and take part in their culture. In short, the Slow Tourism and Sustainable Tourism that we cultivate at Entrelenguas are fundamental to the interests and goals of our clients. Traveling like a local and leaving the term “tourist” behind in favour of “traveler” is the way to find immersion and really experience a destination.
Why did you begin to focus your work on alternative tourism?
I was lucky to have trained in the tourism sector during a period of constant changes, which allowed me to perceive the sector with fresh eyes. I always knew that tourism was important for the local economy, but bit by bit I also realized the importance of approaching tourism in a sustainable and positive way. My work has always been directly linked to travelling. I began working as a tour guide with groups in the most famous places in the country, always very touristy and always with lots of people. For a while I worked abroad organizing ski holidays, but it was while I was travelling that I realized that I wanted my career to be centered around sustainability and Slow Tourism.
What are the tours that you offer in Entrelenguas?
The tours that we offer here are based on contact with the local population and respect for the basic values of local sustainability. I think it’s fundamental to respect the community by not abusing local resources. Tourism is rejected by local residents when it negatively affects their quality of life. Other important elements are tradition, natural and organic local products and small group sizes. These basic principles support our philosophy of Slow Tourism and make sure that the traveler feels more immersed in the local community during their stay. Our goal at entrelenguas is for visitors to feel at home and to enjoy all that Ronda has to offer while feeling welcome and making friends.