News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week December 5th to December 11th
BRITS TOP PROPERTY MARKET
British purchasers increase by eight per cent on last year
By David Eade
THE BRITISH SECTOR ACCOUNTS FOR THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF ALL PROPERTIES PURCHASED ON THE COSTA, AN INCREASE OF EIGHT PER CENT ON LAST YEAR, WITH THE SPANISH MARKET NOW MOVING ON TO OCCUPY SECOND PLACE.
Britons lead the purchasing table for this year having snapped 35 per cent of the properties sold, which represents an important rise in their buying potential. Spaniards are now the second most important purchasers having bought 31 per cent of the properties, a rise of six per cent.
The German market comes in third with 22 per cent of the residential tourism property purchases. However this figure shows a downturn of 12 per cent on last year due to the economical crisis suffered in Germany over the past four years, which has had its effect on properties bought abroad.
The Germans are followed by Scandinavians who account for just six per cent of the market, up three per cent on last year. The French purchased four per cent and the Dutch two per cent.
SECOND HOMES STILL STRONG
Second homes account for 34 per cent of all property sales on the Costa del Sol, which represents around 30,000 dwellings. The value of these sales was 2,720 million euros. Despite the downturn in Germany, the Costa property sector has still managed to show a growth of 16 per cent thanks to Britons and Spaniards.
CHEAPER HOLIDAYS FOR BRITONS
Good news is in store for British tourists wishing to holiday in Spain next year. Market research company A C Nielsen forecasts average prices with First Choice to be down £10 on last year. Thomas Cook is showing a drop of £39, and TUI £16, but the biggest savings can be had with tour operator MyTravel with reductions of £66.
FRANCE AND SPAIN ACT ON SUSPECT TANKERS
By David Eade
DURING THEIR RECENT SUMMIT IN MÁLAGA, THE PRESIDENTS OF FRANCE AND SPAIN, JACQUES CHIRAC AND JOSÉ MARÍA AZNAR, AGREED TO JOINT CONTROLS ON ALL SUPERTANKERS PASSING THROUGH THEIR COASTAL WATERS.
Both France and Spain now reserve the right to ward off suspect vessels to a distance of 200 miles offshore. However, ecologists, merchant vessel operators and maritime lawyers have stated that the accord can have no validity in the Straits of Gibraltar. The Straits are international waters and the distance at the narrowest point between Tarifa and Morocco is just 14 kilometres.
Jaime Castro, a lawyer who specializes in maritime law, has stated that the norms of maritime law defend ships' right to free passage in international waters. By that norm no vessel can be impeded in passing through the Straits of Gibraltar except in exceptional circumstances or in war.
Nonetheless, Admiral José Antonio Balbás Otal ordered the frigate 'Andalucía', which is normally based in Vigo, to proceed at speed to the Gulf of Cádiz. The 'Andalucía' is now monitoring shipping passing through the Straits zone with orders to intercept tankers over 15 years old or with single hulls.
Within days of taking up her new station the 'Andalucía' diverted two petrol tankers away from the Straits. The first was the Maltese registered 'Bizantio', owned by the same company that owns the 'Prestige'.
The second tanker intercepted, the 'Express', was also flying the Maltese flag. This vessel belongs to Coch Shipping and is said to have had various problems. Both tankers were escorted by the 'Andalucía' to the stipulated 200 miles off the Spanish coastline.
CÁDIZ AND MÁLAGA TOP MOTORBIKE DEATH LIST
By David Eade and Dave Jamieson
According to a study just published by the RACC Motoring Club the provinces of Cádiz and Málaga are the most dangerous for users of two-wheeled motorized vehicles. Only Tarragona and the Balearics have worst safety records.
The new study showed a 23.3 per cent mortality rate for motorcycle and moped drivers in Málaga - 8 points over the national rate and 5 more than Andalucía as a whole - with 30 of the province's 129 road deaths last year being those of riders. The RACC attributed the worrying figures to failure either to wear a crash helmet or to use it properly. In Madrid and Barcelona, where crash helmets were worn by riders in 90 per cent of motorcycle accidents, the Club reported the death rate was a third of that in Málaga. Two-wheeled travel accounts for the way 17 per cent of the province get around, with 150,000 motorbikes and mopeds registered last year.
In Cádiz last year 115 people died in road accidents and 29 of those where on motorbikes, scooters or motorbikes. That represents an average of 25.2 per cent, the overall average for Andalucía being 18.7 per cent and the national average 15 per cent.
The province of Cádiz has more two-wheeled motorized vehicles per head than anywhere in Spain. At the start of the year there were more than 100,000 motorbikes in Cádiz, which is one for every 11 inhabitants.
Cádiz's head of traffic, Luis Javier Herrero, said that he recognized the seriousness of these 'black statistics'. He stressed the importance of motorcyclists wearing crash helmets conceding that usage in Cádiz was very low.
NERJA RESIDENTS STUNNED BY CORREOS AWARD
"Best in Spain" accolade for Post Office ridiculed
By Dave Jamieson
FOREIGN RESIDENTS HAVE BEEN STUNNED BY THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT NERJA'S POST OFFICE IS OFFICIALLY THE BEST IN SPAIN THIS YEAR.
The Association of Urbanisation Presidents has expressed continued dissatisfaction, following the announcement of the award from Correos last week. Evaluation teams compiling the data for the Spanish postal service visited the Nerja office, sometimes unannounced, and assessed the public service offered, based on nine criteria. These included the capability of the manager in leadership and innovation, staff courtesy, efficiency, and ability to meet financial and environmental targets. Their results placed Nerja 150 points ahead of its nearest rival. The local manager, José Antonio Carmona, was reported as saying that constructive criticism was always welcome and he would be studying the suggestions for further improvement made by the evaluation team.
Last year, the Nerja office was named the best in Andalucía and was in the national top 10, and this year's award as the national Number One would, said Sr Carmona, ensure the name of Nerja reached a wider public.
LOCAL DISSATISFACTION GROWS
However, many local residents have vociferously complained about long waits - often over 30 minutes in the low-season - as well as incivility and inefficiencies at their post office over many months. In October, the Association of Urbanisation Presidents formally complained to Nerja's Mayor, José Antonio Armijo, over the high level of incorrectly delivered letters, suggesting that a sub-office in Capistrano Village could alleviate a serious problem. As a result the Town Hall promised extra postal staff would be appointed.
Last week's events led the Association to reiterate their complaints about irregular and incorrect deliveries, saying no improvement had been noted since last month's meeting with the Mayor.
TWO BRITONS ARRESTED IN LUXURY CAR SCAM
News Staff Reporter
Police in Benalmádena have arrested four people who are believed to be members of a Bulgarian-led international gang dedicated to stealing luxury cars. The gang's modus operandi is to steal cars from petrol service stations and restaurants. They strike when the vehicle's owners leave the keys in the ignition and go to pay at the cash desk. The four arrested men were identified as Kevin J.L., Anthony A., both British, plus Bulgarians Krasimira G.T., and Dessilava F. They were all seized in the Avenida Ghandi in Benalmádena, where they have their home. Inside the property, police found six pairs of car ignition keys plus the effects from previously stolen cars.
BRITISH MIGRATING BIRDS FOUND DEAD IN THE STRAITS
The after effects of the Prestige disaster spread south
By David Eade
TO DATE MORE THAN 100 DEAD BIRDS HAVE BEEN FOUND ON THE SHORES OF CÁDIZ PROVINCE NEAR THE STRAITS OF GIBRALTAR.
The birds have died from the effects of the oil spilling from the sunken tanker Prestige which lies in the north west of Spain off Cap Finisterre in Galicia. The birds have either died from being covered in the thick black tar or from digesting it. The majority of the birds found on the coastline have flown from Iceland, Britain or other Northern European countries as part of their annual winter migration. The worst affected birds are the common razorbill of which at least 80 have so far been found. Also the bodies of gannets and various gulls have been discovered by patrols of regional government's environment department.
Seprona - the environment arm of the Guardia Civil, naval patrols and various environmental groups are taking part in the search for contaminated birds and are covering the entire coastline from the Campo de Gibraltar to the Bay of Cádiz. The contaminated birds are being taken to a specialist bird rescue centre in El Puerto de Santa María. The biologist David Ríos said: "The majority of the common razorbills are born in Iceland, the Faeroe Islands, the English Channel and the British Isles whilst others come from Scandinavia and Finland".
Their migration route takes them along the Iberian Peninsula across the coastline of Galicia and Asturias where they have been registered in densities of 1,000 birds per hour. After passing over Portugal they arrive in the Gulf of Cádiz where they divide in to two either heading directly for Morocco or the Straits of Gibraltar. As many as 400 birds per hour have been seen in the Straits of Gibraltar.
FILM FESTIVAL IN MÁLAGA
By Dave Jamieson
Plans for the sixth Málaga film festival have been unveiled. Despite the downturn in the production of Spanish feature films over the last few years, the organisers are confident that the event, running from April 25 to May 3 next year, will have plenty to showcase. The festival director, Salomón Castiel, said that it would exceed the quality level seen last year, although Tedy Villalba of Antena 3, one of the sponsors, commented that this year's total of 104 screenings might drop to 80 or 90 in the spring.
The event has become economically important for the city as well, with Málaga's Mayor, Francisco de la Torre, revealing that the last festival had an economic impact of 9.3 million euros in the area, with 50,000 tickets sold at the box offices - 25 per cent more than in 2000. The sixth festival is expected to be a homage to the director Juan Antonio Bardem, who died recently, while two new awards - Best Short Film and Best Documentary - will be introduced. The event will run in parallel with two others - Mercadoc, dedicated to documentaries, and Market Screenings, which aims to sell Spanish cinema films to foreign distributors.