Albacete declared the first Starlight Tourist Destination province in the world at Fitur

This milestone is achieved after the delivery of the last Starlight certificate for the regions of Mancha-Júcar-Centro and Monteiberico-Corredor de Almansa.

2024 / 02 / 05

With almost 15,000 square kilometers, in which six districts full of contrasts, nature, cultural heritage and clear skies are integrated, the province of Albacete has managed to become the first province to be declared a Starlight Tourist Destination.

Thus, eighty-six municipalities - all without the capital - are under this seal of quality that the Starlight Foundation grants to places that have very good qualities for the contemplation of the starry sky and that, protected from light pollution, are particularly suitable for the development of tourist activities based on this natural resource.

In addition to the quality of their skies and the means to guarantee their protection, Starlight Tourist Destinations must also have the appropriate infrastructures and activities related to the tourist offer and their integration into the nocturnal nature.

albacete dts fitur 2024Night photography in the Sierra del Segura, Albacete/ Credit: LuzLux for the Starlight Guide

During the opening day of the International Tourism Fair in Madrid, last January 24th, Albacete Day was celebrated at Fitur. And what better way to celebrate than by officially becoming the first Starlight Tourist Destination province in the world.

The director of the Starlight Foundation, Antonia Varela, handed over to the president of the Provincial Council of Albacete, Santi Cabañero, the distinctive that certifies the province of Albacete as a Starlight Tourist Destination, highlighting the work that the provincial entity has been doing since 2019 and the possibilities that astrotourism opens for the territory.

Cabañero declared that this certificate is "a privilege" and another step that symbolizes the province's commitment to sustainable tourism and the preservation of the night sky.

The first two districts of Albacete to achieve certification were those of the Sierra de Alcaraz and Campo de Montiel and the Sierra del Segura, at the beginning of 2021, also begin the installation of Starlight viewpoints in the municipalities to enjoy the night sky.

Turning the entire province into a Starlight Tourist Destination has been, declared Cabañero, "a dream come true" thanks to the intense joint work between the team of the Provincial Council of Albacete and the Starlight Foundation, advancing in a process that has not stopped taking steps, adding "region to region". Thus, the Starlight certification of La Manchuela arrived at the beginning of 2022. That of Campos de Hellín, starting in 2023. And those of Monteiberico-Corredor de Almansa and Mancha-Jucar-Centro, have been processed during 2023, now completing the certification process throughout the province.

Also in 2022, a Starlight Astronomical Monitors Course was held in Elche de la Sierra to train a total of 39 monitors in the province of Albacete, with the aim of training personnel specialized in astro-tourism.

The investment made by the Provincial Council of Albacete in this project since its inception has been 221,000 euros, including studies of light measurements, workshops, certifications, designs and installation of viewpoints in all locations.

The benefits of astrotourism in Albacete

According to data collected by the Provincial Council of Albacete, provincial tourism has registered a significant increase in its records, with an increase of almost 18%, both in travelers and overnight stays between the months of January and November 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

The entity states that these figures reflect the attractiveness of Albacete, reinforced by its new status as a "Starlight Tourist Destination".

The provincial project continues with the progressive installation of Starlight viewpoints in the eighty-six municipalities of the six counties; the realization of a course of Starlight Astronomical Monitors, in collaboration with the Junta de Castilla La Mancha, to facilitate the training of people in the province of Albacete with the official certification of the Starlight Foundation, which in turn will promote interpretive visits in the municipalities to expand the tourist offer.

Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias
Coorporación 5