News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week September 12th to September 18th
FLEET HEADS FOR GIB
War ships to join in the Med for NATO exercise
By David Eade
GIBRALTAR'S NAVAL DOCKYARD IS SHOWING ITS STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE BY PLAYING HOST TO WAR SHIPS PASSING THOUGH THE STRAITS ON THEIR WAY TO EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN WATERS.
The vessels are gathering in the Mediterranean as part of a long planned NATO exercise. However a British naval commander has made it clear that his crew are mentally prepared for a longer stay in the region should Britain join a USA led action against Iraq.
HMS ARK ROYAL ON THE WAY
Last week saw a flotilla of Royal Naval vessels, led by the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, leave Portsmouth for the Mediterranean. The force includes ship based jet fighters and helicopters, marines, troop landing craft plus support vessels. The HMS Ark Royal's first port of call will be Gibraltar before sailing on into the Med. Several naval vessels have already passed through Gibraltar's naval port. Amongst the first were two Royal Navy auxiliary vessels. These were followed by the American cruiser HMS Barry plus a USA frigate. The Dutch frigate Witte de With has also been in port. Armed with an array of missiles, the Dutch vessel has a crew of 197 ratings and 23 officers.
Naval vessels from Britain, the USA, Holland and Belgium will be taking part in the NATO exercise. The fleet will also visit other ports in the Mediterranean. Nations such as Spain, France, Italy and Greece will also be taking part in the NATO display of strength, which is designed to reinforce the alliance's commitment in what is seen as a potentially unstable region.
GUARDIA CIVIL INTERCEPT 3,101 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS
Algeciras and Tarifa coastline records highest number of landings
By David Eade
ACCORDING TO FIGURES RELEASED BY THE GUARDIA CIVIL THE NUMBER OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS DETAINED IN THE PROVINCE OF CÁDIZ BETWEEN JANUARY 1 AND AUGUST 31 IS 3,101.
These statistics confirm that the coast of the Straits of Gibraltar is the number one destination for immigrants from Africa wishing to illegally enter Spain. The coastline between Algeciras and Tarifa bore the brunt of the landings. The Guardia Civil detained 2,336 people trying to illegally land in this zone. That figure accounts for more than 75 per cent of the clandestine immigrant landings in the province. The beach of Barbate is a popular dropping off point with 765 immigrants being detained in that location.
Of the 2,336 illegals detained in the Campo de Gibraltar region the majority of them come from Morocco. Morocco accounted for 1,352 of that total followed by the Congo with 286, Nigeria 138, Sierra Leone 72, with the balance made up from various other countries on the African continent.
The number of people attempting to cross the Straits of Gibraltar and who have been detained shows a marked drop over last year. In the period January to December 2001, a total of 9,817 illegal immigrants were detained. One reason for the drop is probably the increased vigilance and detections, which has deterred more crossings.
None the less illegal immigrants still come. There has been a steady growth in the number of women making the crossing especially pregnant women, those accompanied by babies or young children. At the weekend a Guardia Civil patrol detained 51 illegal immigrants in a boat a mile off the Cape of Trafalgar.
COSTA MARINAS NEED TO DOUBLE IN SIZE
Local charity approaches Phase Two of building project
By David Eade
The demand from yacht owners to berth their vessels in the various marinas on the Costa del Sol is growing at an enormous rate. The 11 ports in Málaga province currently offer 4,311 moorings but the demand from residents and tourists is such that double that number is required.
Compared with other major yachting centres in Spain, the Costa del Sol has a very small number of moorings available. In the province of Alicante there are 22 ports with 9,397 moorings. Whilst in Mallorca there are 41 recreational ports offering 12,895 moorings.
The Costa's leisure ports are big business and currently turnover 70 million euros each year. Three ports have already applied to regional government for permission to double their capacity. La Caleta de Vélez wants to expand from 350 moorings to 800 whilst Puerto Banús, which has 915, seeks to add another 450. The Benalmádena marina sought to increase its mooring by 800 but has accepted a government ruling to add only 600.
The current waiting lists for moorings are as follows: La Caleta 300 moorings, 350 waiting; El Candado 250/100; Real Club Mediterráneo 25 moorings all private; Benalmádena 1,094 moorings, 400 waiting; Fuengirola 226/100; Cabopino 169 moorings, no details of waiting list; Marbella Puerto Depotivo 377 moorings, 900 waiting and Puerto Pesquero 265/300; Puerto Banús 915/500; Estepona 433/200 and La Duquesa 377 moorings with no waiting list in operation.
PICASSO'S PROMOTIONAL PUSH
Málaga prepares for new museum opening
By Dave Jamieson
TOURISM AUTHORITIES ARE PREPARING A BIG PROMOTIONAL PUSH FOR MÁLAGA'S NEW PICASSO MUSEUM, DUE TO OPEN NEXT YEAR.
The Head of Tourism for the Costa del Sol, Ana Gómez, is planning to invite 1,500 tour operators and international journalists to the city, in order to update them on the capital's latest attraction. Sra Gómez said that the museum will be an important element in Andaluz tourism, particularly in the US, and, along with golf and the corporate market, it should become the best advertisement for the region in America.
SHOWCASED IN THE USA
The museum is expected to generate income of 30 million euros and attract 1.4 million visitors every year, and is already being showcased by the Costa's tourism representatives at three major promotional events in the US, including this month's important convention in Chicago.
TORREMOLINOS IS REGION'S TOP RESORT
By David Eade
According to an official survey of last year's tourism figures the Málaga municipalities of Torremolinos, Benalmádena, Fuengirola, Marbella and Estepona account for 29.2 per cent of the hotel places in Andalucía.
More than half the hotel rooms (52.4 percent) in all of Andalucía are concentrated in 10 municipalities in the region. Top is Torremolinos with 10.3 per cent followed by Sevilla eight per cent, Marbella 7.3 per cent, Granada 5.3 per cent, Benalmádena 4.9 per cent, Roquetas de Mar 4.9 per cent, Fuengirola 4.2 per cent, Córdoba 2.6 per cent, Estepona 2.4 per cent and Almonte also with 2.4 per cent.
At the end of 2001 there were 162,497 registered hotel places in Andalucía. That figure represents an increase of 7.3 per cent over the previous year. If guest houses, camp sites and apartments are added to the hotel figure the region has 337,995 places, an increase of 5.1 per cent.
When all types of accommodation are taken into account Torremolinos still tops the list with 7.7 per cent of the total. Next comes Marbella seven per cent, Sevilla five per cent, Roquetas de Mar 4.5 per cent, Fuengirola 3.8 per cent and Benalmádena on 3.5 per cent.
NERJA CAVES SYMPOSIUM OPENS THIS WEEKEND
International conference to study Karst ecosystems
By Dave Jamieson
THE SECOND GEOLOGICAL SYMPOSIUM AT NERJA'S CAVES OPENS ON SUNDAY.
More than 70 delegates from 14 countries are expected to attend the three day event, which will use the town's Cultural Centre as its base, and has as its theme, "Karst and the Environment". Karst is the term applied to an area of limestone with underground streams and caverns, which takes its name from the Karst region of Yugoslavia where such features are notable.
Organisers say there has been considerable interest amongst the scientific community and they are hoping for a number of successful forums with experiences and methods from Karst regions of the world under debate.
UNESCO SHOWS SUPPORT
The Symposium is organised by the Nerja Caves Foundation with support from UNESCO and others, and during their stay, delegates will be invited to view Karst ecosystems in the Sierra de Líbar and the Sierra de las Nieves.
ALMUÑECAR HELPS THOUSANDS DURING SUMMER
By Dave Jamieson
Almuñécar assisted over 23,000 holiday-makers at its four tourist information points during June, July and August. The principal office, at the Palacete La Najarra in Almuñécar, dealt with over 6,000 enquiries, a second office at Avenida La Fenicia handled over 5,000 questions, while La Herradura's staff responded to more than 4,500 queries. For the second time, a temporary office was opened on Almuñécar's Paseo de Velilla during July and August, staffed in part by students of tourism from a Granada college.
In all centres, the number of foreigners was heavily outweighed by the total from Spain, with a total of 71 per cent of enquiries coming from domestic visitors, mainly residents of Andalucía, Madrid and Cataluña. Tourists wanted maps of the area, as well as information on local places to visit, the Alhambra and the Alpujarras, and sporting and leisure facilities. The tourism department at Almuñécar's Town Hall says it was notable how many first-time visitors have been helped this summer, many coming to the area having visited the town's Internet site, which topped a million hits in July. (www.almunecar.info).