January 2014 News Headlines

Xàbia promotes diving (at last)

Jan 29tth
With seven legal dive clubs, 25 km of coastline, numerous hidden coves and grottoes beneath the cliffs .. Javea had never before considered diving tourism…Until now. Next March, Xàbia will debut itself as a destination for snorkeling and diving in a trade fair. Xàbia has the most dive centres and schools in the province of Alicante, but until recently had not considered the potential for diving and snorkeling tourism. From XAD: Xàbia se submerge...

Alcalalí promotes Almond Blossom as a Tourist attraction

Jan 28th
The village of Alcalalí is trying to promote its almond blossom season (February) with guided tours of its museums, historical buildings and almond groves (lead by members of the Pensioners association) and a photographic competition. To this end, the have issued publicity in Castillian, English, Dutch and German. For details see: Visit Alcalali in February

Spanish working hours below developed world average, but higher than western Europe

Jan 28th
Working hours in Spain are much longer than in most of western Europe, although still below the average in the developing world, according to the Institute of Economic Studies (IEE). Time spent at work was calculated annually – a nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday job clocks in at 1,820 hours a year, but then with holidays taken off, would equate to 1,680 or 1,645 for four or five weeks' annual leave respectively. For the UK, Sweden, Slovenia, Finland and Luxembourg, the total comes to just over 1,600 hours a year, although they have fewer bank holidays and in some countries, such as the UK, these are no longer recognised. Spain's working hours are considerably higher than Germany's 1,397 a year, Austria's 1,381 and France's 1,479. For full story see: ThinkSpain

Xàbia's Town Planning Consultative Committee met 10 times in 2013

Jan 28th
Xàbia's Town Planning Consultative Committee comprised of 61 members met 10 times in 2013 and made proposals on 19 topics. From XAD: El Consell d'Urbanismo...

The dilemma of Spain

Jan 27th
Luis Garicano believes that some of the problems that weigh on the Spanish economy, such as corruption and cronyism, have little to do with cultural considerations and are much more the result of the legal and social environment in which institutions are created. In his recently published book El dilema de España (Or, The dilemma of Spain, published by Atalaya), the London School of Economics professor sees an urgent need for profound changes in how the state works, in the educational system and in political parties in order to enhance the transparency and fairness of markets. "A competition commission or constitutional court is of no use if later you appoint the most servile of people to it," he says. For full story see: El Pais in English

Xàbia goes for Social media to promote its tourism

Jan 27th
At a FITUR tourism Trade Fair press conference, Xàbia Councillor Miragall announced that the town was concentrating on the internet and social media to promote tourism. The municipal website was to be updated daily, with up to date information about what was going on in Jávea, they would also use a unique name "xabiaturisme" on all social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube etc.) . Mario Schumacher, in charge of the internet campaign will be teamed up with two people to update the information. They also highlighted a video clip on Youtube about kayaking from Granadella (see below). From XAD: Las Redes....

Raisins are the stars of FITUR Tourism fair


Jan 27th
The Riuraus and traditional raisin production process became an attraction at the FITUR Tourism fair in Madrid, where a mockup of the scalding of the grapes was centre stage, together with an introduction to the architecture typical of the Marina Alta and 19C raisin production: The Riurau. 12 municipalities combined to create a "Tour of the Riuraus": Benissa Moraira-Teulada, Gata, Llíber, Ondara, Parcent, El Benitachell, Javea, Pedreguer, Jalon, Jesus Pobre and La Xara. From Las Provincias: Los Riuraus... To learn more about Raisin production see: Xàbia Museum Translation project likewise for information on the Importance of the Raisin trade. See Javeamigos for a nice all round article on the Riuraus and raisin trade.

Xàbia promotes regional water management

Jan 24th
Taking advantage of the public scruitiny of the regional hydrological plan, Xàbia's mayor Chulvi convened a meeting of the mayors of the Marina Alta and their water technicians to discuss the possibility of pooling and coordinating water managment in the region. Topics covered include an extended network for potable water, connecting sources and the desalination plant; the recovery of depleted aquifers and the purification of waste water from urbansiations for irrigation use and human consumption. From Las Provincias: Xàbia impulsa...

Don't dump your hot cinders in the garbage!


In recent weeks, eight rubbish containers in Xàbia have caught fire due to the careless disposal of fire embers. These incidents are not only a danger to the public, but also involve considerable cost to the Town Hall (firefighters and replacement of plastic bins) - people are therefore asked to remember that embers can keep hot for several hours and to store them for 24 hours in a metal container, or in a spot in the garden. From XAD: El Ayuntamiento...

Tech giants taunt the taxman

Jan 24th
All the major US technology groups continue to dodge the Spanish taxman. The fiscal engineering tactics developed by their advisors allow them to pay hardly any tax on their business operations in Spain. Financial data for the main Spanish affiliates of Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Yahoo, eBay and Microsoft show that their joint provisions for tax on profits in 2012 — the last year for which figures are available — was just 1,251,608 euros. That’s to say: 1.2 million in taxes among seven giants of the industry….Apple has discovered what one US senator described as “the Holy Grail of tax avoidance”: thanks to a loophole in tax residency legislation, its subsidiaries do not pay taxes in the US because Apple’s primary offshore holding company is based in Ireland; yet they do not pay taxes in Ireland either because this holding company is actually managed and controlled not from Ireland but from the US. American legislation determines tax residency by a company’s place of incorporation, while Ireland does so based on the place where it is managed. For full story see: El Pais in English

Benitatxell and Teulada top proportion of foreign residents at more than 70%

Jan 22nd
Despite the Marina Alta having lost 1520 foriegners in a year, there are still plenty left with 43.67% of the population being expat. Xàbia lost 81 foreign residents but the number of retirees has remained firm, with British and German residents not so much interested in the beach, but giving greater value to tranquillity and sun, supermarkets which carry products from their countries, restaurants and bars run by their countrymen, and hiking trails. From Diarioinformación - Benitatxell...

Who’s afraid of the big, bad wolf?

Jan 22nd
"Genetic studies on the population of wolves in Spain and Portugal suggest that these animals have been much closer to extinction in relatively recent times than was previously thought," Today, the wolf occupies just 25 percent of its historical range. There have been no studies on its potential future distribution but because of a wolf's requirements - extensive habitat and sufficient wild prey - it is possible Spain's population could extend its range considerably. The European Union's Habitats Directive established a frontier in Spain to protect the Iberian wolf: the River Duero. South of the waterway the wolf is considered of "community interest" and is therefore protected. If an animal must be killed, the regional authorities are responsible for doing so. But north of the Duero the wolf's status is less clear. In Castilla y León, Cantabria and Galicia hunting wolves is permitted, but in Asturias it is not - Farmers complain of stock losses through apparent wolf kills, hunters want bigger quotas, which conservationists state that:"More objectivity needs to be applied to wolf management and less pressure exerted," For full story see: El País in English

Re-urbanisation of Freginal area up for tender

Montgó SL to do the Port works

Jan 22nd
The project to finish off the re-urbanisation of the Freginal area and completion of calle Malta is up for tender at a maximum value of €469,000. To tender, contractors must provide a guarantee of €14,078 and add 21% VAT on their tender price. Also, according to the official gazette, the Xàbia Company, Montgó SL has got the contract to do the Ava Jaume I works in the Port, at a cost of €80,667 . From XAD: Sale a licitación....

Number of foreign tourists up

Jan 22nd
The Comunidad Valenciana welcomed 5.9 million foreign tourists in 2013, while Spain as a whole received 60.6 million, 5.6 percent more than in 2012. UK Tourists comprised 23.6% (14.3 million), up by 5.2%; Germans 16.2%, and French 15.7%. There was an increase in the number of visitors from Nordic countries, which now comprise 8% of the total, and an increase was seen in the number of Russians who were 2.6% of the international arrivals at 1.58 million. December tourism was up by 16.3% over the previous year, with 3.1 million winter visitors. From Las Provincias: La Comunitat.... See also: El Pais in English - Spain displaces China as third most popular tourist destination. But the positive figures disguise the fact that it was the beach-holiday segment that buoyed the market, with the north and the interior of the country, which rely much more on domestic tourism, still suffering from weak demand. “From the macroeconomic point of view, everything is fine. But if you go into details, the differences are enormous. The key is the type of client: those sectors not doing well depend on domestic tourism,” explains Ricard Santomà, the director of the tourism school Sant-Ignasi, linked to Ramon Llull University. Madrid is a case in point, with the number of visitors to the region down 7 percent. El País in English - Bumper year...

Port slipway - positive signs

Jan 22nd
Councillor Oscar Anton remarked on his Facebook page: "Finally, the Department of Infrastructure and Ports (Consellería Valenciana), will authorizes us to use the slipway in the port if we present a project to arrange use. It is a first step but good news !!!!!! Well done Juan Luis Cardona." We now await a project proposal.

Beach Tourists Who Collect Shells May Be Harming the Environment

Jan 19th
At one beach in Spain (Larga, Barcelona), increasing numbers of tourists have caused a 60 percent decline in shell abundance, potentially disrupting the aquatic ecosystem…the authors think the habitat changes might be "multiple," including increased beach erosion, a decline in calcium carbonate from recycled shells and a drop in diversity and abundance of animals and plants that depend on shells, such as crabs, small fishes, algae and seagrass. For full story see: The Smithsonian.

Denia House rehabilitation reveals historical treasures

Jan 19th
A Denia house, protected because it had 17C architecture has revealed buried relics from a more distant past: Two islamic houses (inlcuding a well-preserved courtyard), traces of a road, Arabic inscriptions, three graves from the Christian era as well as 17C wall drawings. The building was recently bought by Davidoff Spain Properties to convert it into an estate agents. Once the archeological work is complete they plan to preserve as much of the historical interior as possible and allow access to the public. From Las Provincias: Hallan restos....

Xàbia receives grant of €393,250 for Central Cinema

Jan 19th
Mayor Chulvi has announced that Jávea has received a grant of €393,250 from the Alicante Government for the rehabilitation of the Central Cinema building. The total budget is some €930,000 - the balance to be provided by the Town Hall. From Las Provincias:La Diputación dara....

Xàbia gets Electricity savings boost

Jan 19th
The Town Hall has negotiated a 19% discount in its contract with the electricity provider, meaning that the budgeted costs for 2014 will fall from a million or so to around €811,000. In addition Xàbia has obtained a subvention of €93750 to improve the energy efficiency of municipal buildings, a sum to which the Town Hall must add €26,000 from its own coffers. This money will be spent on a massive changeover of light bulbs to LED lighting in municipal buildings, and it's hoped that €20,000 a year will be saved from this switchover. From XAD: Xàbia rebaja.... (Eds note: This article gives a table breaking down the electricity costs - most of the money is spent on public lighting. The table is summarised here Electricity costs - Budgeted 2014)

The Age of Sustainable Development

Jan 17th
This new, free, on-line course on Sustainable Development starts on 21st January. It is from Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute (Columbia University) and hosted by Coursera.
"This course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of sustainable development, drawing on the most recent developments in the social, policy, and physical sciences. Sustainable development is the most urgent challenge facing humanity. The fundamental question is how the world economy can continue to develop in a way that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. The course describes the complex interactions between the world economy and the Earth's physical environment. Ecological processes and constraints (climate, disease ecology, physical resources such as soils and energy sources, topography and transport conditions) significantly shape the patterns of economic development, demography, and wealth and poverty. At the same time, human activities (farming, land use, urbanization, demographic change, and energy use) change the physical environments, increasingly in dangerous ways. The course offers a broad overview of the key challenges and potential solutions to achieve sustainable development in the 21st century. "

Table of Contents

Xàbia promotes cycle routes and Riuraus at International Tourism Fair

While Dénia goes for history and food

Jan 16th
Both Xàbia and Dénia are promoting their tourism offerings at the FITUR International tourism fair in Madrid, under the banner of the Costa Blanca. Xàbia is promoting its 10 cycling routes (which are currently being signposted, including informative posts and GPS locations). They have also created a regional guide and tour of ruiraus in Ondara, La Xara, Jesus Pobre, Teulada, Gata de Gorgos, Benissa, Parcent, Benitachell, Lliber, Pedreguer and Xàbia. They are also trying to promote Xàbia through social networking by asking FITUR delegates to take a photo to be shared with the hashtag #xabia365 for which they get a free cap and chance to win a free weekend in Xàbia. From XAD: Las rutas... Meanwhile Dénia is promoting its historical heritage with a guide to the castle and a virtual reality 3d app showing Dénia in Roman times. They are working on a similar app for Denia in Moorish times, since it is 1000 years since Denia became the capital of the "Taifa" . They are also working in getting Denia categorised as a UNESCO city of Gastronomy. From Las Provincias:Dénia apuesta...

Promoter withdraws from Saladar developments

Jan 15th
Developer, Salvador Vila has been formally allowed to withdraw from its programme to develop 252 dwelling in the Saladar 2 and 4 areas (opposite Bar las Olas ). Any new developer taking up the project would have to fork out a million Euros divided between the Town Hall and Santacreu which built the Consum roundabout ( part of the Saladar development plan). from XAD: El promotor... (Ed's note: How far the great have fallen: Not long ago Salvador Vila had an ambitious plan to turn the Saladar into a shallow lake surrounded by houses . Fortunately the overly ambitious idea never saw the light of day.) For more see: Vila proposal to urbanise the Saladar

House sales in November plunge close to lowest levels since the crisis broke

Jan 14th
Just a day after Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said that the housing market was beginning to touch bottom in a recovery that is gathering pace, the National Statistics Institute (INE) on Tuesday announced that home sales plunged in November of last year to their second-lowest level since the crisis began around the start of 2008. The INE said housing transactions in the month shrank by 15.7 percent to 21,847, a figure only above that of April 2012, which coincided with that year’s Easter holidays and therefore had fewer working days. For full story see: El Pais in English

Ex Xàbia Mayors deny irregularities in Hotel Rodat court case

Jan 14th
The trial of two ex-Mayors of Jávea (Juan Moragues and Eduardo Monfort) and seven other councillors has begun in Alicante. This, the "Rodat" case, is in relation to alleged irregularities in the granting of building licenses to Hotel Rodat in the 1990's. Both mayors denied committing any irregularities in the first session of court, in which Eduado Monfort defended himself (he is a lawyer). The charges were brought as the result of testimony from two whistle-blowers, one of whom is the brother of the Valencia Mayor, Rita Barbera. Court representatives asked for penalties of eight months in jail and seven years inelegibility to stand for public office if found guilty. From Xàbia al Día: Moragues y Monfort.... Note: The XAD article provides links to more detailed articles in Levante and Las Provincias.

Out-of-work Spaniards abroad see healthcare entitlement capped at 90 days

Jan 12th
Long term dole claimants in Spain will lose their entitlement to free medical care via their European health cards after they have been out of the country for three months in a new government ruling. This does not apply to students or tourists, but does apply to Spaniards and other EU nationals resident in Spain and entitled to healthcare cover there who leave the country with the intention of this being a longer-term arrangement. for full story see: Think Spain

Valencia Opera house repairs to cost more than €3 million

Jan 12th
The Palau de les Arts, cost 478 million euros to build, was designed by the prominent architect Santiago Calatrava and opened eight years ago. On December 26th, a section of the roof's mosaic fell off on, forcing the opera house to shut down and cancel performances. The roofing job is something akin to "tiling the hull of a ship, it's very complicated." So complicated, in fact, that authorities have decided to simply rip off the 8,000 square meters of "trencadís". The problem of ceramic tiles falling off the roof is caused by a "faulty design and selection of materials, or a faulty execution, or both,". To complicate matters further, the metal dome and the ceramic covering have different coefficients of thermal expansion and they are subjected to notable temperature changes, all of which has resulted in lumps and wrinkles forming visibly on the façade. It is hoped that opera performances will resume on Feb 22rd. For full story see: Ela Pais in English

Portal del Clot skate park opens for the kids

Jan 12th
The roof of the Potal del Clot carpark has been fitted out with ramps etc. as a Skate park (a Citizen's participatory budget project from last year) at a cost of around €14,000. The space can be used for BMX, roller skates and practicing skate board, minimum age 8, and helmets must be worn. (Eds note: The kids were already using this space for hair-raising skating leaps - so if you can't beat them, join them) Las Provincias: Los Jovenes...

Plans for the Portal del Clot municipal building

Jan 12th
Las Provincias reports that plans are underway to make use of the "new" municipal building near the Portal del Clot. The ground floor will be used for the local police, and the Social Services and Technical departments will also be housed there. This will be financed by a low cost loan received in 2009 (Xàbia inicia....

Work on Port pavements scheme to begin Monday

Jan 12th
A project funded by last year's Participatory Budget reported in February had been due to start in April - but will now begin next week. The works involve widening the pavements in areas closest to the sea and re-arranging the parking spaces. From: Xàbia inicia...

San Sebastian bull running in the Old Town

Jan 10th
The festivities in honour of San Sebastian, the patron saint of Jávea since medieval times, have become a more permanent and conspicuous fixture in the fiesta calendar in recent years. In 2012, the running with the bulls returned to the very heart of the historic centre after a 20-year absence and proved to be such a popular event in a month when bars and restaurants find life quite difficult that it is returning for a third year as part of the celebrations. The organising committee of San Sebastian has also produced a programme of events for the festivities which will run over the weekend of 17th-20th January. For full story see: Javeamigos

Xàbia Museum receives more than 20,000 visitors

Jan 10th
The Soler Blasco Museum in Xàbia Old Town treceived 20,789 visits in 2013 of which 5,295 were foreigners, who had information in English in the display rroms thanks to the Friends of the Museum Association (AMUX). Some 1575 visitors were schoolchildren participating in educational visits. The busiest months were August, March and may. From las Provincias: El Museo ...

15th Century drawings in Xàbia's Casa Candelaria copied and preserved


Jan 10th
A set of 15C drawings of ships and figures found on the walls of the municipally-owned "Casa Candelaria" have been copied. consolidated and covered with a sheet of cork to preserve them. The house itself is in a state of disrepair, being propped up with struts and with leaks in the roof. The Town Hall has yet to decide how to use the building. In the meantine, municipal archaeologist Joaquim Bolufer will be carrying out a dig in three silos which have been documented in the floor of the building. From Diarioinformación...

Finding treasure in the trash

Jan 9th
The European Union has mandated that all member states - their homes, supermarkets, factories and restaurants - must halve the amount of food that goes into the waste bin by the year 2025… Spain ranks sixth on the list of EU members that throw out the largest amounts of healthy, edible food: 7.7 million metric tons of it a year, according to EC figures from 2010. The five worst performers are Germany (10.3 tons), the Netherlands (9.4 tons), France (9.0), Poland (8.9) and Italy (8.8). ..There are inspirational examples like Britain, which managed to reduce its waste by 21 percent in five years through awareness campaigns. For full story see El Pais in English

Work on Central Cine to start this year

Jan 7th
Work to refurbish the Central Cinema building in Xàbia Old Town will start this year. It was used as a cinema until the 1990's and has since fallen into disrepair. The Town hall bought the building almost 13 years ago, with the aim of converting it into a cultural centre, and this has been a popular idea with the public at large. The project will create a multi-use building with a space for workshops and exhibitions on the lower floor. Above, there will be the amphitheatre seating around 300 and a stage which will serve as a theatre, cinema and place for musical activities. The total cost is some €930,000, which will be met in part by a grant from the Diputación de Alicante. The balance of €400,000 will be from the 2014 and 2014 town budgets, reflecting the increasingly healthy economic situation in the Town's resources. It is hoped that the new Cine will hep to revitalise the Old Town. From las Provincias: La rehabilitación...

Unintended consquences of Asset Declaration

Jan 7th
According to technicians of the Spanish authority, only 131,411 people submitted "Modelo 720" - the declaration of assets held overseas by tax residents in Spain, while there were an estimated 2.6 million possible foreign wealthy residents in Spain from central and northern Europe, USA, Canada, Japan and Saudi. The penalties for not declaring, or late submission are so draconian, that it would now be fiscal suicide for any of these people to "come clean". Apparently DMS consulting (Majorca) has sent a denuncia to Brussels about the penalties, but it's being processed at a snail's pace (from Existe el suicidio Fiscal..... In a possibly related development, Denia saw a fall of 28% of foreigners registered on the Padrón. The number of Brits fell from 1579 to 1048. From Las Provincias: Dénia pierde...

The poison of the housing boom

Jan 6th
An analysis by Prof Josep Lluís Mirrales Garcia of UPV in Sunday's "Levante" highlights some telling statistics: A period of 15-21 years will be needed to absorb the 471,383 excess of apartments built in the Comunidad Valenciana during the housing boom - some will never be sold; €55-75 billion has been effectively removed from circulation. 77,000 evictions between 2007-2012 - a fifth of those registered in the whole of Spain.

The shocking price of Spanish electricity

Jan 1st
Spain's electricity bills are among the highest in Europe, having risen 60 percent between 2006 and 2012, with only the Irish and Cypriots paying more…. The Red Cross says that around 40 percent of families who come to it for help - many of them on an average wage until recently - cannot keep their homes warm in winter. …Why such high costs ?? Some electricity is produced by wind, some from a dam that was built 70 years ago, and around a third by a power plant using imported gas whose price depends on a wide range of external factors. But consumers pay the same price, whatever the source… that corresponding to the most expensive electricity produced that day… This is a result of a unique sales system … for full story and fascinating details see: El Pais in English...

Food bank for pets in Alicante

Jan 1st
The crisis has hit pet owners leading to an increase in abandoned animals, and dogs without their legally required vaccinations. In response to this, Alicante city has set up a pet food bank and free veterinary services at the dog pound. Pet owners who can prove that that are in economic difficulty via a social services accreditaion can get free basic veterinary services such as vaccinations and deworming, and help in feeding their pet so the animal can stay with its owner. The Minimum cost of owning a pet is around €550, 150 of this being vaccinations required bty law, and the rest food. From Las Provincias: Un banco....

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