January 2017 News Headlines

Stolen oranges and poached sea urchins

Jan 31st
Members of the Roca team of the Civil Guard reported that about 42,600 kilograms of stolen citrus were recorded in the Marina Alta region last year. A notable increase since in the previous campaign (12,100 kilos) However 28 complaints were received last year compared to 12 in the previous year, so the rise in quantity of stolen oranges is probably due to increased reporting of thefts. (From: Las Provincias. Meanwhile in Xàbia the police detained two people for furtively fishing "low calibre" (..undersized?) sea urchins which are a protected species. From: La Marina Plaza

Xàbia Town Hall reports saving of €300,000 on electricity bills

Jan 31st
Xàbia Town Hall has reported that more than 300,000 euros has been saved in electricity bills since 2011. Six years ago, the bill for public lighting reached its highest level at some 550,000 euros. However significant savings have been made ever since, thanks mainly to the renegotiation of contracts with electricity supplier Iberdrola and updates in lighting technology, and bills have been reduced by just over 57% which amounts to some 314,728 euros. for full story see: Javeamigos

Spain's disappearing villages

Jan 31st
According to the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP) in its paper Population and depopulation in Spain 2016, at least 4,000 villages are in imminent danger of disappearing altogether due to the ongoing 'demographic haemorrhage'. The worst-affected provinces are those of Teruel (Aragón), Cuenca (Castilla-La Mancha) and Soria (Castilla y León) – in fact, throughout the region of Aragón itself, some 80% of inhabitants live in villages with fewer than 300 residents, the majority of which have as few as 30 on their census…The FEMP says the depopulation risk is driven by two factors: low birth rates, which have been in continual decline since even before the financial crisis and fell more sharply still with the recession – leading to an ageing population which is not regenerating itself – plus lack of job opportunities in isolated rural areas, meaning those of working age migrate to larger towns and cities. For full story see: ThinkSpain

Aquifers topped up by winter rains

Jan 27th
Last summer the water level in the wells at Pedreguer stood at a depth of 211 metres, just a little above its maximum 232m. As a result of the two lots of rainstorms the Ocaive well now stands at a depth of 85.5m. Not only does this mean that supplies are healthy, but also that costs are reduced since less power is needed for water abstraction. Despite the good news, Pedreguer Mayor Sergi Ferrús stressed that there should be no relaxation and responsible consumption should be maintained. He also said that it is necessary to continue searching for "global solutions to the problem of water in the region" along with other municipalities, not forgetting the work to reduce leaks in the pipelines. In Xaló the losses due to leaks in old pipework were 75% in 2015, which they hope soon to reduce to 45%. From: Las Provincias

Storm caused significant damage in 80 Valencian Municipalities

50 of them on the coast

Jan 24th
The coast of Castelló and las Marinas suffered the worst effects of the storm along the coast. All the damages will be analaysed this week at a meeting called by the regional secretary of tourism, who cited 52 coastal municipalities suffering damage. In one case 23,000 chickens died when there was a power cut and the system to automatically start backup generators did not work. (Levante print edition). In another story, Denia has calculated that the damage it suffered will cost more than 2 million Euros to put right. This includes reinstating sand and profiling some beaches. From Las Provincias

Met office confirms that a storm like this one has never been recorded

Jan 20th
The State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) has confirmed that "there is no record of such a storm since records began". Speaking to Europa Press, AEMET spokeswoman Ana Casals said that the situation this week is "absolutely historical" Other "partial storms that have left similar thicknesses of snow, but in smaller areas, not like this one , which has affected more territory. The situation is "historic because of the temperatures, affected areas and by the continuity of snow," and warned about what could happen over the next few hours in the face of the storm of wind, sea and rainfall in the Mediterranean area. from: El Dia

2017 draft municipal budget published

Jan 21st
The proposed budget for 2017 is 35,754,280 euros, which is some 2.59% lower than 2016 due to the reduction in the annual state investment by Madrid which is based on such parameters as the municipal registry and collection of municipal taxes. In addition, the Ayuntamiento has been obliged to return around 640,000 euros to the Ministry of Finance relating to state investments made in 2014. This has forced the local executive to work for several months to create a suitable budget without having to raise municipal taxes. The basic points of the draft budget which will be presented in an open meeting to residents on the afternoon of Monday 23rd January. For full story see: Javeamigos

Towards a more extreme climate

Jan 15th
The "Valencia" section of the Sunday Las Provincias carried an interview with prof. Jorge Olcina of the Climatology laboratory of the University of Alicante, in which he indicated that the climate of the Valencia Mediterranean coast is becoming more extreme. We can expect the following trends: Reduction in the number of rainy days and concentration of the rains into periods of intense rainfall with attendant flood risks; less rainfall overall with drought - leading to fire risk in the mountains; extremes of temperature with damaging heatwaves. Warmer sea temperatures leading to the extension of the "Gota Fria" season into the winter. It is estimated that orange trees will disappear from this area by 2050 and be grown up near the Pyrenees. Another article highlighted 13 extreme meteorological events from last year, including floods, tornadoes, waterspouts, hailstorms, wind and heavy snow.
See also Prof Olcina's paper in English: Climate Change and Tourism Policy in SpainClimate Change and Tourism Policy in Spain - Diagnosis in the Spanish Mediterranean coast.

Xàbia will opt for sustainability and protection of its heritage in planning for tourism in 2017

The mayor, José Chulvi, announced that a meeting of Mediterranean destinations will be held to seek common strategies.

Jan 15th
After looking for "more", it's now time to look for "better"; commented the Mayor of Xàbia and Head of Tourism, José Chulvi, in presenting the balance of data for 2016 and the basic objectives for 2017.The mayor explained that although 2016 followed growth trend of previous years and reached historic highs, "the time has come to rethink the model. We want to continue to be an international tourist destination and for this, we need to preserve what we are and what makes us unique: our natural and scenic environment, quality services, traditional architecture, gastronomic excellence, cultural offer … and ultimately everything that has created our character as a town over the years. " Xàbia'sTourism wants to change the model for 2017 and go from traditional promotion to planning. In the words of Chulvi "planning means, for example, avoiding the peak flow of visitors concentrated in only two or three months, and spreading visitors the year. New events, like the Montgorock, the Trixabia, Black Xàbia Negra etc. are scheduled before or after summer as attractions. "

Last summer the Town Hall took some pioneering measures like marking the coves of Llop Marí and dels Órguens with bouys. In addition, a study of traffic capacity of the most sought-after coves such as Portitxol and Granadella, will be carried out to avoid traffic jams and reduce the number of vehicles. One possible solution on the table is the introduction of a bus service in high season which would discourage the use of private cars. Permanent buoy-marking of the Grava beach is also a possibility so that it can be enjoyed by bathers and swimmers in the winter. From Chulvi Facebook.

Responsible Tourism and Mediterranean Destinations - regional meeting planned for Xàbia

Jan 15th
2017 has been decreed by the UN as the year of sustainable tourism, and Xàbia does not want to miss this opportunity. The town is already working to obtain the Biosphere certification, issued by the Institute of Responsible Tourism and based on the standards and recommendations of the UN and UNESCO for sustainable tourism. According to José Chulvi, "we have many factors in favour of this, but we will also have to work hard and continue to take measures aimed at rationalising and protecting our most important resources. We want everyone to enjoy Xàbia, but without putting at risk what we are and the key to our success during the last fifty years. " Xàbia plans a meeting of Mediterranean destinations with potential and common challenges (Xàbia, Balearic Islands, Croatia, Malta, Greece, etc.) to be held in 2017 in our municipality and which should be "an exchange forum sharing experiences and a focus for new ideas and models in which political leaders have to participate, but also representatives of the business and academic world. Chulvi, added that "for us, it is very important to convene and lead this project given its international dimension, and the great possibilities it offers us in the future. We are clear what model we want to follow and who our partners must be to achieve it. " from Chulvi Facebook

Spain plans 'safe corridor' for migrating cetaceous species

Jan 13th
The Spanish government is planning to create a 'safe route' for whales, dolphins and other cetaceous species in the Mediterranean Sea.
The corridor would be located off the eastern coast of Spain between Catalonia and the Balearic Islands and should be established for 2018.
Spanish Environment Minister Isabel Garcia Tejerina is pushing for the route to be designated a "Specially Protected Zone of Mediterranean Importance" (Zepim) under the terms of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean sea against pollution, which was adopted in 1995.
However, the NGO Alianca Mar Blava has warned that the project could be jeopardised by two offshore oil prospecting initiatives in the area that are awaiting authorisation from the energy ministry, according to Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia. The NGO has reportedly written to Energy Minister Alvaro Nadal telling him that the underwater sound waves produced by the air guns used to prospect for oil could cause "irreversible physiological damage" to cetaceous species in what is supposed to be a 'protected' area. Full story from Ansamed

Spanish Olive Oil to Help Fight Climate Change

Jan 13th
The non-profit organization Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva de Español will participate in a European project which will calculate the environmental footprint of olive oils and their contribution to reducing greenhouse gasses. The Spanish olive oil sector, along with the interprofessional group, will lead the European project titled PEF (Production Environmental Footprint) pilot, an initiative that will study the control of greenhouse gasses during climate change through the calculation of the environmental footprints of olive oil tree cultivation and oil production. The EU survey Eurobarometer 367 found that 80 percent of Europeans are occasionally concerned with buying products that in some form relate to improving the environment. In fact, the environmental impact a product is a key determining factor with consumers, just behind the price and quality, when making a purchasing decision. For full story see: OliveOilTimes

Calpe promotes itself to UK and Germany

Jan 13th
Calpe is promoting itself in two key areas to expand the foreign market: UK and Germany. The department of tourism has been present at World Travel Market and Leeds. They have also focused on reinforcing work with British tour operators to include Calpe in their product catalog and secure it as a tourist destination among the British. The English market sends more than 300,000 tourists a year to Alicante. Calp has therefore invested in a powerful promotion campaign in tourist magazines as well as promotional catalogs and specialized websites where it can display the municipality and make it known as a differentiated and preferential tourist destination for the coming years. In addition the council has worked in Germany in cities such as Cologne, Düsseldorf and Copenhagen, where there has been a lot of work with travel agencies to attract tourists, it is now included on the Berlin route. Note: German tourists continue to entrust the agencies with their vacations in most cases. From :Diarioinformación

Diputactíon modernises the "Costa Blanca" logo

Includes the word "Spain"

Jan 13th
More modern, universal and versatile. This is the renewed image of the Costa Blanca brand with which the area aims to increase the excellent occupancy figures of 2016, positioning the destination internationally and making the province of Alicante a clearly identifiable benchmark for emerging markets. The president of the provincial government, César Sánchez, and Deputy Tourism Promotion, Eduardo Dolón, presented the new corporate identity that, keeping the original symbol, presents a change in font and incorporates a range of greens as wink to the interior of the province. In addition, the word 'Spain' has been included next to the denomination 'Alicante' with the objective of helping people to know where it is. while the colour of the logo has a graduated tint. From Las Provincias

Xàbia Tourism calendar promotes sustainability and proceeds will go to rehabilitate Granadella

Jan 6th
The Xàbia department of tourism has released its calendar for 2017. The desktop calendar, entitled "Xàbia Sostenible" sustainable Xàbia, costs 2 euros and it promotes the image of Xàbia as a peaceful place at ease with its environment . A far cry from the crowds experienced during the summer. All proceeds from the sale of the calendar will go towards the rehabilitation of the Garandella Natural Park. From: La Marina Plaza

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