Costa del Sol News - 6th April 2009

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

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The Costa del Sol weekly newspaper, on sale at newsagents.

Week April 6th -

Ronda cancels May Fair due to recession

Town hall says money is better spent on jobs but opposition criticises the measure

By David Eade

A major shock has been handed out to the people of Ronda and the wider Serranía. The mayor, Antonio Marín, has stated that this year's Royal May Fair has been suspended due to the economic recession. His administration, formed by a coalition of Partido Andalucista and PSOE councillors, will instead spend more than 300,000 euros on its economic crisis plan.

The Real Feria de Mayo was first held in 1487 and was given its ‘royal' prefix by the Reyes Católicos. It is the oldest agricultural and livestock fair in Andalucía and is of major economic importance to the farming sector.

Nonetheless, Mayor Marín believes that in the present circumstances the main priority is to create jobs and help disadvantaged families. It is intended to contract 106 workers between May and July, while 200 families in Ronda are living in abject poverty and need town hall help. The jobs will be created in the service sector as gardeners, painters, bricklayers and cleaners, among others.

Air and rail numbers fall but liners cruise into Málaga

Airport arrivals drop by 29 per cent; AVE ridership down 11 per cent

By Dave Jamieson

New data confirms that tourism has suffered from the effects of the recession in the first months of the year. The numbers of visitors arriving in Málaga by both air and rail have fallen, compared with the equivalent periods in 2008, thought the cruising sector is buoyant.

Figures from the airport show a drop in arrivals of 28.8 per cent in January and February.  National travellers were down 28 per cent while those flying in from other European countries fell by 31.6 per cent.  Conversely, arrivals from outside Europe rose by 34 per cent, but this was not enough to compensate and the overall total of over 515,000 passengers was more than 200,000 down on last year.  Visitor numbers from the UK were down 16.2 per cent, German arrivals fell 19 per cent and there were 17.3 per cent fewer from France.

The train has felt the strain as well with the number of passengers arriving to Málaga on the AVE services down by 11 per cent during January and February.  Figures from the Costa del Sol Tourist Department show that 13,800 fewer visitors came to Málaga by rail compared with the same period last year, when the high-speed train service to the Costa capital had just begun.

Second Strait's cable has no adverse effect on environment

Ecologists blast report as "an insult"

By David Eade

The commission set up to oversee the laying of the 400,000-volt cable from Tarifa, across the Straits, to Morocco has reported that it has not had any negative environmental impact.

Around 14 studies have been carried out including assessments of the fishing stock levels, the number of red tuna in the area, and the effects on the coastline amongst others. The reports have been unanimous in showing no adverse effects and in many cases the environment has improved since the cable laying took place.

Whilst the flora and fauna seems to have been unaffected there have been concerns on the effects of the electro magnetic fields and the impact they could have on the increase in the number of cancer cases in Tarifa. However it appears that the cable has not been found to have prejudiced human health in any way. Agaden - Ecologistas en Acción has been angered by the reports' findings and has labelled the commission's findings as "an insult to people's intelligence".