Tourism has been highlighted as an economic avenue to be exploited by inland localities with exuberant heritage sites that attract a multitude of visitors throughout the year. In the Els Ports region, far from the big cities on the coast, the tourist opportunities it now offers are varied, ranging from cultural, environmental, gastronomic and even sporting activities. A clear opportunity for work and economic and social expansion which, moreover, is being worked on with the clear intention of consolidating itself from the Centre for Tourism Development and Acceleration (CdT) of Els Ports-Morella, a centre of reference for rural tourism which aims to prepare its students for the business opportunities of the tourism market and, furthermore, to have an impact on improving the level of services in the region. This centre was created as an initiative of Turisme Comunitat Valenciana, and over the years it has established itself as the perfect place to train and prepare the youngest people in the region to face the challenges of current tourism and the gastronomic offer to be exploited in the territory.
In fact, the creation of the centre is a direct response to the increased impact of visitors on the local economy. It is not, therefore, a job orientation sought and created for a dubious future, but is born taking into account the tourist possibilities of the region and the growth that it may have. The gradual depopulation that has affected many of the villages in the region has also compromised many trades and basic services in the villages, reducing employment options for young people. The Els Ports-Morella Tourism Centre also acts in this direction, as an enhancer of young people, giving them the necessary tools for their future employment in rural tourism and gastronomy.
The centre itself is considered a residence-school where the pupils stay in an environment surrounded by nature. The Tinte and Telares warehouses of the former Fábrica Giner were refurbished together with the Casa Giner, the school and the stables to accommodate the needs of the school. The rooms of the residence have the most modern facilities, such as internet access, complete bathroom, wardrobes and desks. In addition, in order to facilitate the situation of the students, a full boarding allowance is provided, even for students coming from nearby towns who do not require accommodation. They also have an assembly hall, tasting room, laundry, shared work space, restaurant, kitchen and bakery. In other words, state-of-the-art refurbished spaces to have an impact on the future of the region and on the future of young people who want to work in the service sector.
Because now it is not necessary to emigrate to study hospitality or tourism, in all its facets. The possibility of studying in the interior not only has an impact on the level of services. It has a direct impact on the territory’s capacity to consolidate its population and combat the rural exodus of young people who cannot fulfil their professional dreams. The CdT fights against depopulation face to face, and provides the best resources so that they can design a business that takes advantage of the territory’s potential. The courses offered by the centre range from training in cooking with local products and Valencian designation of origin, with mushrooms or rice; to sports training with courses on adventure sports with ropes and tourist training with courses on how to be a tourist guide or housekeeping training.
The intention to create sustainable tourism also influences the population living in the territory and how the profits are distributed. With the CdT based in Morella, the intention is that more and more people from Els Ports learn and invest in their own territory, and that the economic flow resides and revolves around the variety of native businesses. Culture, sport, environment or gastronomy are specific sectors that are already being worked by many businesses in the region. Now, with the educational boost of the Centre for Tourism Development and Acceleration (CdT) of Els Ports-Morella, the future of tourism is in good hands.