April 2015 News Headlines

Rafalet fire quickly extinguished

April 30th
A forest fire broke out on the upper slopes of the Rafalet area (above the houses on calle Mar de Barents) on Thursday 30th April afternoon. A quick response from the fire-fighters kept the fire under control and prevented it from spreading over the top of the hill. Even so some 4000 hectares was burned. The cause of the fire is unknown . From XAD: La rapida.... Eyewitness accounts were reported on Euroweekly

Spain to invest €421 million in aquaculture

April 23rd
Spain's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, MAGRAM, Isabel Garcia Tejerina, announced that 421 million Euros will be allocated to the Multiannual Aquaculture Strategic Plan 2014/2020. The plan outlines how aquaculture will be conducted in coming years in the framework of the new EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)…The strategic guidelines of the Plan are: Simplify and standardize the legal and administrative framework; Reinforce representation from the sector; Increase Spanish aquaculture production by improving sector planning, and Select new areas of aquaculture interest. For full story see: Mercopress

Spanish wine: good - but sold too cheap

April 20th
Spaniards make a lot of very good wine, but they sell it at the price of a bad wine. This same product is later commercialized by France and Italy at much higher prices. The explanation for Spanish wine’s inability to fetch the market prices that experts agree it deserves is many-fold: a lack of good salespeople with language skills, weak distribution networks, over-abundant harvests and low-paying customers. Another reason is the fact that Spain specializes in bulk wine. Unbottled Spanish wine is used by bars, supermarkets and sangria makers across the globe. Last year, Spain sold 1.25 billion liters of bulk wine, a 38-percent rise from the previous year. Three-fourths of this amount gets sent to France, Germany, Portugal and Italy…. “It is much easier to sit in you office and wait for a French agent to come to you with an order, than to go knocking on doors in Singapore,” he says. “The sales agent who goes abroad finds clients, but also finds out what people are drinking outside our borders, whether they prefer sweet wines, red or white, in a bottle or in a plastic bag, and that kind of information is essential in order to adapt our supply.” For full story see: El País in English

Spanish Climate will become more like Morocco's

Important crops will be impacted

April 20th
Andalusian olives, lemons in Valencia and even the country’s vineyards in La Rioja could all be at risk if temperatures rise to equal those of Morocco, according to the report " Cambio Climático en Europa 1950-2050 (Climate Change in Europe 1950-2050) by Spanish climatologist Jonathan Gómez Cantero ". Spain, has experienced a rise in temperature of 0.5 degrees during every decade since the beginning of the 20th century. Add to this the decrease in precipitation since 1950 and you have a country that has become both significantly warmer and drier. For full story see: The Local.es


New proposals to develop the Saladar

April 20th
Jávea Town Hall has received a new Integrated development proposal (PAI - Plan de Accion Integrada) for urban development of the Saladar. This will be a tricky issue for the new administration to tackle after the forthcoming elections. The new General Town Plan ( PGOU) has yet to be finalised and we are still operating under the 1990 regulations, which identifies the Saladar as an urbanisable area, although it is prone to flooding, and measures have to be taken to deal with this if any project is to be approved. Town Hall technicians are currently looking at the proposals which will be presented to the town's Consultative Committee on the environment and urban development before advancing. From XAD: Patata caliente... For background information on the Saladar and previous project proposals see: Saladar

Jávea among the 50 towns worst hit by the crisis in Spain

April 20th
The CSIS (Centre for Scienctific Research) has produced an atlas of the crisis and calculated various indices to gauge how badly various towns have been hit. Jávea is considered to have suffered a "major impact" . Hardest hit towns were those which based their tourism on massive and dense construction of secondary residences for a middle class population. There is still a surplus of properties - Denia alone has 26,000 vacant properties . Those less hit had a more diverse economy , renewed industry, some export capacity, and a basis for innovative business. These towns tended to be in the Atlantic coast Provinces and Navarra. From La Marina Plaza.

Benidorm - officially not a tourist town

April 12th
According to the law, one of the requirements to be classified as a Tourist town is that the number of houses which are second residences must exceed the number which are primary residences. Benidorm fails this test, despite contributing 1% to Spain's GDP (10% of that of Valencia). As a result it is not entitled to extra funding to cover services to cater for any more than its 69,000 registered inhabitants. Benidorm has a floating population of 150,000 and more than 400,000 people flock there in the summer to enjoy the beaches and nightlife. Security is a problem, since the number of police it is able to employ is based on the registered population. A bill to modify the law failed to pass in the Congress of Deputies. From: El País

Complaints about the aesthetics of the new Port Plaza

April 12th
Port residents have collected signatures to write to Xàbia's Mayor Chulvi denouncing the design of the new public space in the Port, the Maruja Varó plaza. People consider the design to be pretentious, harsh, de-humanised, hot in the summer, and cold in the winter, with few plants and not taking into consideration the history or character of the area. Accepting that the plaza was built in good faith, and that it can't be demolished, they ask that abundant vegetation should be introduced, with pergolas covered with climbing plants to provide shade in the summer, a refreshing water feature, references to Port and neighbourhood history, and seats and corners so that everyone can sit and appreciate the natural beauty of the beach and bay. From La Marina Plaza

Massive fraud in recycling of appliances

April 12th
The Consejo de Estado (Spanish Council of State - the supreme consultative council of the Spanish Government), has accused appliance manufacturers of being involved in a massive fraud over the past decade. Manufacturers are obliged to charge a fee of between 5-30 Euros to pay for the recycling their old appliances, ("polluter pays" principle) but the suspicion is that the law has been ignored, the appliances sent to scrap, or sold to illegal scrap merchants who do not have the facilities to deal with toxic waste, and the money used for other investments. It is estimated that two thirds of the appliances end up as illegal scrap. The result is that Spain is near the bottom of the European recycling league (ahead only of Romania and Greece). In 2012, 3.3kg of electronic waste per inhabitant per year was collected in Spain, six times less than the figure for Norway (20kg). A "sting" operation carried out by the consumer organisation tracked 16 appliances left at collection points - only four completed their journey to approved recycling plants. There are moves to identify each appliance with a registration number so that its fate can properly be tracked. This will require monitoring by each autonomous community From El País: El consejo...

Valencia rejects private parking project for the Port

April 12th
The Ministry of Infrastructure has rejected a project proposal by a Madrid company to set up paid parking in La Caleta in the Port during the peak summer and easter weeks. This rejection is based on objections raised by the Xàbia Town Council which pointed out how this would add to congestion in the area, and reduce the already limited number of free parking spaces in the Port. They also stated that in view of the planned re-organisation of the Port, the issue of parking should be addressed in a comprehensive manner. Also that the Port is not an isolated entity, but a part of urban area, and any intervention should take that into account. From XAD: Puertos...

An "Energy Cheque" for low-income families

April 12th
The Valencia Government is to introduce an "Energy Cheque" worth €100 for families having dependent children under 18 and a household monthly income not exceeding €532 per month. The estimated cost will be €1 million, and the scheme will be run by an NGO, which will be selected by competition. They are looking for one which has the right netwook of offices and spread to enable access to the scheme. From Levante: El Consell...

Easter Tourism - steady as she goes

April 12th
Preliminary figures for hotel occupancy over easter showed a figure of 90.13%, unchanged from last year and 20 points up on 2013. Full data will only been available when rubbish collection, electricity and water consumption figures have been assessed. For full story see: Javeamigos

Almost half the tourists to the Valencian Community come during the 4 summer months

April 4th
Despite efforts to extend the tourist season over the year, almost half the tourists come to the Comunidad Valenciana between June and September. This applies both to foreign (48%) and Spanish (45%) tourists. The average hotel occupancy along the coast oscillates between 20% and 80% depending upon the season. See: Seasonal Tourism for graph. Experts have advised diversifying the tourism offering: developing urban tourism, gastronomy, culture, shopping etc. and to try not to depend too much on one market. the UK for example comprises a third of foreign tourists and their numbers have fallen 10% so far this year. Other tourism markets such as China and India, which are not focused on "sun and sea" should be pursued. The Chinese, Russians and Brasilians also spend more (€600 per day) than the Germans and Brits (€100 Euros). From Las Provincias: Sunday April 4th print edition. P 34.

Low cost dominates flights to the Comunidad Valenciana

Fears this will affect quality tourism.

April 4th
Seven of every ten travellers flying into the Valencian Community arrive on low cost airlines. The tourism sector creates 20,000 jobs and foreign tourists bring in a fat €5,300 million, but there are fears that this low cost model is compromising five star tourism; the tourism of congresses and gastronomy. Valencia no longer has direct flights to London Heathrow, and cannot compete in the market for holding congresses with cities such as Bilbao which do have direct flights. Low cost tourists also spend less (92 €per pay) than those which use the traditional airlines (€116). The profile of a low cost passenger is 25-44 years old, travels with a partner (rather than a family), does not come on a package holiday, and comes mainly to enjoy the sun and sea, sports and theme parks. However main stream airlines are having to modify their policies in order to compete with the Ryan Airs and Easyjets, and valencia needs to do something to attract the big airlines (BA, Emirates, Air France, American Airlines) back. From: Las Provincias Sunday 4th April Print edition P3.

Moli Blanc installs sound absorbing panels

April 2nd
As a result of complaints and forced closure last year due to excessive sound from the Moli Blanc Nightclub, the owners have spent some €200,000 to install sound dampening panels, of the type used beside motorways in built-up areas. These panels will enable the club to pass acoustic tests and comply with noise regulations. They hope also, that the new bye laws controlling ad-hoc street parties (botellon), will reduce the nuisance experienced by residents last year, and will also benefit the Club. From XAD: El Moli Blanc...

Mediterranean Sea 'accumulating zone of plastic debris'

April 2nd
"We identify the Mediterranean Sea as a great accumulation zone of plastic debris," said Andres Cozar of the University of Cadiz in Puerto Real, Spain, and colleagues. "Marine plastic pollution has spread to become a problem of planetary scale after only half a century of widespread use of plastic materials, calling for urgent management strategies to address this problem."…scientists were particularly concerned about very small pieces of plastic (less than 5mm in length), known as microplastics. The study found more than 80% of plastic items in the Mediterranean Sea fell into this category. "These very small plastic fragments lend themselves to being swallowed by marine species, potentially releasing chemicals into the gut from the plastics," Dr Morritt, of the School of Biological Sciences, told BBC News. "Plastic doesn't degrade in the environment - we need to think much more carefully about how we dispose of it, recycle it, and reduce our use of it." for full story see: BBC news

Barcelona - a Victim of its Tourism success?

April 2nd
According to government figures, between 1990 and 2013 the number of annual visitors who stayed overnight in Barcelona exploded from 1.7 million to 7.6 million, and the number of hotel rooms grew from 10,265 to 37,069. Today, tourism account for about 14% of the Barcelona’s economy…In this compact city of 1.6 million residents, the tourist impact is impossible to miss. Today, 79% of the people on La Rambla, the main avenue in the Ciutat Vella, are not from Barcelona; 58% are foreign tourists. Packs of bachelor and bachelorette parties from around Europe stumble through the Ciutat Vella at night, regularly vomiting in the streets and hiring prostitutes…Barcelona is not alone, and the struggle of European cities has even spawned a subgenre of documentaries bemoaning mass tourism. Barcelona has Bye Bye Barcelona, a film by Venezuelan filmmaker Eduardo Chibás that has received over 300,000 YouTube views; Berlin has Welcome and Goodbye; and Venice has The Venice Syndrome. (One common feature of the genre? The irritating sound of squads of roller bags clicking over cobblestones.) For full story see: Fortune

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