News from Andalucia, and the Costa del Sol
In association with
AUGUST 10-16 2000
MALAGA FERIA SET FOR FUN
Traders expect two million visitors and 15 billion pesetas turnover
By Howard Brereton
Two million people are expected to visit the historic centre of Málaga over the ten days of the Feria, which opens tomorrow.
Presidents of the city's hostelry association AHEMA, Rafael Prado, said each reveller is expected to spend an average of 7,5000 pesetas, giving a total spend in the city centre of 15,000 million pesetas.
Sr Prado described the feria as "crucial" for the 300 businesses in the old city centre and added that a variety of new ideas to entertain the public would be revealed this year.
Recent years have seen a huge increase in the popularity of the daytime city centre fair, known as 'feria del dia', at the cost of a less busy, if not quieter night celebration of the official fairground at Teatinos.
It will not be in just bars and restaurants during feria time where the locals reach for their credit cards; new colourful flamenco dresses have to be purchased as fashions change each year. The year 2000 celebrations will see more sleeveless dresses with printed floral designs at an average cost of 40,000 pesetas each.
The feria trade is much needed in the city centre, where small shopkeepers are fighting to keep their businesses alive in the face of fierce competition from out of town superstores.
A report published last week by the local federation of the self-employed claimed that 67,000 small shopkeepers across the province are in difficulties and reported that 10 per cent expected to close down before the end of this year.
GOING UNDERGROUND IN BENALMÁDENA
Work is to start in September on a vehicle underpass to Benalmádena's port which itself will be expanded. The tunnel will run from the Solymar roundabout to the Avenida de alay. The council hopes the cost will be met by the sale of 2,438 square metres of galleries and commercial units. The town hall is also investing 823 million pesetas in a 360 place underground car park and commercial centre near the railway station at Pueblo Sol in Arroyo de la Miel.
CURB THE CURVES
Provincial government has allocated 146 million pesetas to remove the curves on the road between Alhaurin el Grande and Cártama at La Trocha. The work will take place next year. Another 200 million pesetas will be spent improving the three kilometres of road between the wholesale market and La Trocha before the curves.
A BIT OF CULTURE
Fuengirola's Mayoress Esperanza Oña, has announced that the new 'palacio cultural' sited at the town's feria ground, will open next month - just in time for the annual feria. The building has a capacity for 208 people. The Town Hall has received offers from 20 companies interested in remodelling the third phase of the Paseo Maritimo boulevard.
The plan for a two track rail link between Málaga and Fuengirola stations has just celebrated its 25th anniversary without a sleeper being laid!
Acosol, the water concessionaire supplying customers from Torremolinos to Estepona, reports a consumption of 15,880,000 cubic metres of drinking water in the first six months of this year. The figure compares with 14,780,000 last year and 11,650,000 in 1998.
OUT TO LUNCH News
New neighbours Antonio Banderas, ex-Premier Felipe gonzález and their respective wives accompanied Mayor of Castellar, Francisco Vaca, to a special meal at Castellar's El Aljibe restaurant. Felipe decided to roll up his sleeves and work with the cooks in the kitchen to prepare the special culinary feast for the celebrity party.
Felipe González was recently given a house in Castellar by a grateful Town Hall. He had persuaded Rumasa to cede land to the town on which to build "new" Castellar. The new town is on a plain several kilometres away from "old" Castellar", which by contrast is a magnificent hilltop fortress. Thanks to Felipe, the presence of Banderas and Mrs. Banderas (Melanie Griffiths) will have given Castellar a major boost as a tourist attraction.
NEW INDOOR SPORTS CENTRE FOR NERJA
Regional General Secretary for Sport, Marcelino Méndez-Trelles, has promised support for plans to build a new indoor sports centre in Nerja. The project has a budget fo 422 million pesetas to be paid by the Junta de Andalucia and Nerja Ayuntamiento. A first selection of the projects presented will be made later this month, together with a study into possible land available. Nerja Mayor José Alberto Armijo welcomed the regional support for the project, which will also include a heated indoor swimming pool.
MALAGA'S POPULAR AND SANE NIGHT OUT
Last April, Málaga City Council started to organise night time activities for youngsters - in an attempt to lure them away from a routine of heavy drinking in the city centre. Figures just released show that between its launch and July some 22,000 took advantage of the scheme. 82 per cent of those taking part described the experience as "very positive" with a choice of reflexology, computing, role games, and sports or dance classes. Following the success of the initiative, the Andalucian Youth Institute has announced it will contribute 11 million pesetas to a second phase of events to be organised after the summer.
CIRCLE CLOSES ON VELEZ-MALAGA FIRE RAISER
Vélez-Málaga fire service is investigating reports that a man was seen escaping on a bicycle after some of the 21 fires which are now thought to have been started deliberately over the last month. July saw a record number of call outs by the Velez service, with 37 fires stretching their resources to the limit. A large number of open and public spaces have been affected, the latest in a warehouse in the Avenida Villa de Madrid. Here again witnesses reported a young man jumped over a wall before escaping the scene on a bicycle.
BENALMADENA YACHT DEATH
A 65 year old man died from severe head injuries when he fell overboard from a yacht under sail off Benalmádena early this week.
The accident happened a little after 15.00 on Sunday. The victim incurred the fatal injuries when struck by the propeller of the yacht.
Benalmádena is one of the major boating centres in Spain, with a marina rated as one of the best in the Mediterranean. Steps are currently being undertaken to allow the enlarging of the yacht marina. This follows the publication by the regional government on the environmental impact of the extension.
MALAGA AND GRANADA FOOTBALL FRIENDLY
Málaga and Granada football teams are to meet in a friendly match on Wednesday 16th August. The game, which starts at 21.30 hours will take place in the Fernando Ruiz Hierro Municipal Stadium in Vélez-Málaga and will give a welcome boost to the Axarquia club's funds.
COURT INVESTIGATES OLIVE OIL FRAUD
The Andalucian High Court of Justice is to investigate reported cases of fraud related to olive oil production in the region. The investigation into false claims made by some growers to collect large European subsidies, was started by the Guardia Civil a year ago, and mostly affects the provinces of Jaen and Granada.
MALAGA MAYOR BACKS LOCALS AGAINST TERRORISTS
Mayor of Málaga, Francisco de la Torre, said this week that the recent terrorist attacks in the city made up the most challenging time of his life. He said it had been very important that so many residents had taken to the streets in such a massive protest against the ETA violence.
MALAGA'S POPULATION SURPRISE
A detailed revision of its own figures has led Málaga council to believe the city has a population of 14,333 greater than that listed in the official census - bringing the total to 542,412. The difference is important, given the greater number means the city would be entitled to a larger amount of funding from both regional and central governments.
The larger population would help in the city's claim to be the fifth largest city in Spain - a claim challenged by Zaragoza,. The revision of the figures has also revealed how different parts of the city are growing faster than others; the district of Churriana has seen particularly strong growth recently.
THUMBS UP FOR COSTA TOURISM
At the height of the 2000 holiday season, the Costa del Sol has received a vote of confidence from the tourist industry. USA hotel chain Sheraton is interested in acquiring the rights and management of the "macro" hotel of 24 floors planned for Torremolinos. The intended site would be near the motorway by the Palacio de congreso.
In Benalmádena, the council has received applications to build nine nine-storey hotels from various tourism companies. These would be built over the next three years with a total investment of 18,000 million pesetas. When completed they would add another 2,000 beds to the 7,866 currently available in 21 registered establishments.
Mijas is also considering proposals for two new hotels to be built on sites of closed establishments. In La Cala, the proprietors of the old Costa del Sol hotel wish to replace it with a four star 240 room complex. This project would cost around 2,000 million pesetas. In Calahonda, the owners of the old Club del Sol plan to build a new luxury hotel on the site.
WHITE FLY ATTACK TOMATO CROP
A virus carried by the white fly is having a devastating effect on tomato crops along the Granada coastline. An estimated 60 per cent of open plantations are affected, together with 30 per cent of the crop grown under plastic. To limit the outbreak, farmers will not plant any new tomatoes this autumn and only half the normal amount next spring. Currently there is no chemical effective against the virus - which attacks the younger plants and green fruit.