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Flavours of Malaga: housewives now hold the key to economic development in their disadvantaged neighbourhoods

New TUI Cares initiative fosters a culinary experience created by women in the traditional corralones of Malaga. Through the project, around 70 women will be supported in developing food-related businesses for tourists, including cookery workshops, trips to markets and guided tours.

BERLIN – In Malaga’s neighbourhoods of Trinidad and Perchel, unemployment rates are high and opportunities for decent education are low – especially among women. However, it is those women, who hold the recipe for sustainable economic development in their community, and TUI Care Foundation has stepped into the kitchen with them. Through the project around 70 women living across 40 different traditional communal living spaces in the neighbourhoods will be empowered to develop sound business models around gastronomic heritage tourism, harnessing its rising popularity in Malaga. The project “Flavours of Malaga” aims to enhance the sustainable economic development of a community in which 60 per cent classify as low-income households.   

Elise Allart, Executive Director of the TUI Care Foundation, explains: “Through the TUI Cares for Malaga programme we empower women by boosting their capacity to develop heritage-based business models, through which not only these women and their families, but the local community and economy are stimulated in a participatory and sustainable way.“

“Flavours of Malaga”, a project within the scope of the TUI Care Foundation’s livelihoods programme, will focus on socio-economic empowerment and inclusive development in the segregated neighbourhoods crossing the Guadalmedina River. The epicentre is in the so-called corralones, traditional working-class apartment blocks clustered around a central courtyard. These popular courtyards were once the place where families would come together for food, music, drinks and laughs after a hard working-day; now they are opening their doors and sharing their culture with visitors from all over the world.

The female entrepreneurs are keeping the unique flavours of Malaga alive in their gazpachuelos, a soup that was once a cheap lunch for poor fishermen but is now a gourmet delight, Arabic-inspired desserts, which reflect seven centuries of Muslim rule, and many more delicious dishes. As more and more tourists visit the city every year, gastronomy becomes an increasingly important element of their experience, and so does the potential locked in the corralones. TUI Care Foundation is now working with local and international partners to unlock it.

For this project the TUI Care Foundation partners with the Saxion University of Applied Sciences, the locally based Club Gastronomico Kilometro Cero and the Municipality of Malaga. Students of the Saxion University will contribute their academic experience in sustainable development. Kilometro Cero, on the other hand, will develop seminars to promote these gastronomic districts among stakeholders, as well as conduct training workshops with female entrepreneurs to help them market their products and identify opportunities to add more value. TUI Care Foundation supports all parts of the process, providing funding, encouraging capacity building, bringing in tourism expertise and raising awareness among visitors from all over the world.

Visitors will stimulate the economic impact by booking excursions to the corralones, where they will experience unique traditional Malaga first hand and/ have the opportunity to participate in cooking workshops and excursions to the local market; all of this organized by the local female entrepreneurs.

Raul Jimenez Jimenez, Town Councillor of Social Affairs of Malaga, explains: “Flavours of Malaga combines the empowerment of women from this neighbourhood with sustainable tourism. This is the first project of this kind here; we trust it can be an example for a further roll out throughout Malaga.”

By engaging in the holistic project, local women will be able to improve their socio-economic position and will also boost the area’s livelihoods by advancing their entrepreneurial and leadership skills.

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