Mayor blames foreigners and ecologists for development backlash

Gil made unacceptable comments
Gil made unacceptable comments

Tarifa mayor Juan Andres Gil has further fuelled the fire over the development planned for Valdevaqueros by blaming foreigners and ecologists for the public outcry.

The mayor is furious that a petition to stop the plans has quickly gathered 80,000 names in opposition to the scheme. Speaking to El Confidencial he said “What Tarifa needs is more work and fewer guiris (foreigners).”

He then made it worse by adding “To hell with the ecologists.”

Sr. Gil made the disgusting comments following a public grilling about the development during which he was asked to explain why the 700,000 square metre scheme was good for the town.

He insisted that the plans to build a 1,400 room hotel complex and 350 apartments would bring necessary investment and jobs to Tarifa. The plans were provisionally passed by the town hall last week.

Not everyone is in agreement and local politicians and environmentalists insist the project is a “barbarity” and is “completely unsustainable.”

There seems to be widespread concern over the plans and as the petition has grown so quickly an appeal has been made to Brussels to stop the development.

“This has only just started,” said Lopez de Uralde. “There is still much that can be done to avoid bricking over the unspoilt Valdevaqueros beach. These schemes merely make some people richer while ruining the landscape and heritage for everyone else.”

“Local people have been anti-foreigner for a while,” one British businessman said speaking to The Olive Press.

Many people are not happy and understandably offended by the use of the word ‘guiri’ during a public speech, which is tantamount to racism from an elected official.

“The use of the word is unfortunate. We need our politicians to exercise thoughtfulness and to resist the temptation to slip into facile, populist prejudices. The Spanish people are better and deserve better than that,” said one Irish resident.

A spokes person from the Junta’s Environment department said they are “monitoring the situation closely”.

To sign the petition visit or visit ‘Salvemos Valdevaqueros’ on Facebook.

To add my two-pennies, fewer expats in the area is not going to improve it. I don’t know the figures but I’m pretty sure Tarifa survives on tourism and foreign investment. If they all left who would stay in the fancy new hotel? It’s backward people like him that cause most of the problems in the world – narrow minded, short-sighted, greedy and, it seems, racist.

Tarifa needs you – Save Playa de Valdevaqueros

Tarifa – Ten kilometres of white sandy beaches, unspoilt countryside and some of the best windsurfing conditions in Europe. Just 11 km across the Straits of Gibraltar at its narrowest point, this southern-most tip of Europe where the Med meets the Atlantic Ocean, enjoys spectacular views of the Rif mountains of Africa across the water.

Build a hotel here? Crazy!
Playa de Valdevaqueros – Build a hotel here? Crazy!

Environmentalists, and me, are totally outraged over plans to construct a hotel and housing complex on one of Europe’s last unspoilt beaches.

The initial green light has been given by Tarifa Town Hall to build on a staggering 700,000 square metres of dunes – the equivalent of 700 football pitches – on the unspoilt Playa de Valdevaqueros.

The 84,000m² development, which is being promoted by GMT and architect Juan Munoz, will create 1,423 hotel places and 350 homes on the beautiful untouched coastline.

But green party EQUO argues that the scheme breaches EU legislation because it sits between El Estrecho and Los Alcornocales Natural Parks which are on a UNESCO protected Biosphere Reserve.

“There is still much that can be done to avoid bricking over the unspoilt Valdevaqueros beach,” said EQUO spokesman Juan Jose Lopez Uralde, who insisted the town hall’s decision was “bad news” but that “it was not over”.

“The brick economy has led us into the pit where we are now; the same recipes are not going to help us get out of it.

“The town remains committed to economic and development models which have failed in practice and only contribute to enriching the few while destroying the heritage of all.”

Meanwhile over 8,000 people have now joined a Facebook group protesting against the decision and they could do with support so please go and Like the page, Save Valdevaqueros Tarfia

But the PP Mayor of Tarifa, Juan Andres Gil, continues to defend the project and has accused the protestors of damaging the local economy.

Important Update: Please read update and statement from  Tarifa Town Hall.

Aifos – you’re fired!

Lord Suagr
Lord Sugar is “running out of patience”

Lord Sugar has now been waiting three years to finalise a deal to by the Byblos Hotel in Mijas and says he is running out of patience.

The luxury hotel, which has hosted such celebrities as Princess Diana and the Rolling Stones, closed it’s doors in May 2010 after running for almost 25 years.

The Apprentice star and business man paid 1.5 million euros for the hotel’s spa and tennis courts at auction in 2009 where he was the only bidder. This was the third auction held following two previous attempts which failed to find a buyer.

Sugar also offered the owners, Aifos, just under 1.5 million euros for the hotel plot and according to Spanish law he should have won if another bidder was not found and his bid is the highest.

Sugar’s was the only bid received and the hotel should have been added to his property portfolio but he claims he is being hindered at every step.

“I just want an end to the situation where Aifos challenges every court ruling,” he told a Spanish newspaper.

The Lord says he will create employment when he refurbishes and reopens the five-star hotel. The hotel is famous along the coast and abroad and he wants to bring it back to life.

Aifos has lodged at least 10 appeals against decisions by Fuengirola courts despite the bid from Amsprop being legal and the highest.

“Last March the court ruled in my favour, but Aifos appealed in April. My hands are tied, and who knows for how long,” he was reported as saying in Diario Sur.

“We might have the rest but it would be senseless to open the spa without the hotel,” he added.

So far the sale has cost him around eight million euros and in the meantime the hotel is lying empty.

Easter boost for the Costa del Sol?

Semana Santa
Semana Santa procession

With Easter fast approaching, it is no surprise that the rain has arrived too.

Every year we look forward to Semana Santa; the carnival atmosphere; Spanish cuisine and rain. Why does it always rain at Easter?

Businesses in the region look forward to the festival for another reason though – tourists. As schools across Europe close for the holidays many hundreds of thousands of tourists will arrive in Malaga with money to spend. Even if they don’t have large wads of disposable income they will still need to fill their bellies and quench their thirst so some businesses are guaranteed to see an increase in takings.

Hoteliers in the region are hoping the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain as hotel bookings have so far been 9% lower than last year, according to the Málaga province’s hoteliers’ association, AEHCOS.

The four start Hotel Fuerte in Marbella reports 78% occupancy for the first half of easter week, with 87% for Thursday and Friday and the owners think further bookings will depend on the weather.

The rain affected bookings in 2011 when the second week of Easter being a wash-out. Many hotels saw occupancy fall during the second week.

The current forecast is for rain for the first half of the week with a possibility of more rain in the second half (it’s raining now).

Some hotels are not so worried though. Holiday World in Benalmadena say they have received a similar number of bookings to last year and are almost fully booked for the long weekend.

Tourists play a huge part in the Semana Santa festivals as they inject much needed cash into the economy. The Spanish will spend an average of 240 – 400€ over the five-day holiday and the hope is that the tourists will too!

I read a nice article about Semana Santa written by artist Nicolas de Lacy Brown, a regular visitor to Marbella. You can read it here: Semana Santa – Easter Spanish Style

Hotel occupancy increased in January

Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria saw 78.7% occupancy

Overnight stays in hotels in Spain increased 3.5% in January, compared to the same time last year.

According to figures released by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) there were 12.6 million overnight stays in hotel establishments during January, showing a 3.5% increase.

Overnight stays decreased 0.2% for residents, whereas non-residents experienced an increase of 6.1%. The average stay increased 1.0% as compared with January 2011, standing at 3.1 nights per guest.

Looking at the indicators on profitability in the hotel sector, invoicing per occupied room reached an average value of 68.3 euros, and income per available room stood at 28.9 euros. In terms of occupancy, 37.4% of the available bed spaces were filled in January, indicating a 3.3% increase as compared with the same month in the previous year. The weekend occupancy rate by bed spaces stood at 40.0%, with an increase of 2.2%.

The Germans seem to love Spain the most accounting for 27.3% of the total overnight stays, an interannual increase of 3.7%. The United Kingdom was in second place with 20.1%, registering a 0.8% increase.

Overnight stays of guests from Italy, Sweden and France registered interannual rates of –5.5%, 25.7% and 10.2%, respectively.

The destinations attracting the most foreign visitors were the Canaries where overnight stays by non-residents increased 7.7% over January 2011. Cataluña registered an interannual rate of 1.1%, with Andalucía showing an increase of 14.7%.

Guests resident in Spain chose Andalucía, Madrid and Cataluña for their hotel stays. The regions saw interannual rates of -5.4%, 0.3% and 3.7%, respectively.

By bed spaces the Canaries recorded the highest rate with 71.3% occupancy. Of the islands Gran Canaria was the busiest recording 78.7% occupancy.

Madrid followed far behind the Canaries with 41.0%, while Valencia recorded 35.3% occupancy.

Prices increased in January in hotels with four-gold-stars and one-gold-star (both with 1.6% in the interannual rate), in three- and two-silver-star hotels (0.6%) and in one-silver-star hotels (0.8%).

Conversely, five-, three- and two-gold-star hotels recorded interannual decreases of 0.7%, 1.8% and 2.5%, respectively.

The average invoicing by hotels per occupied room (ADR) in January was 68.3 euros, indicating an increase of 0.2 euros as compared with the same month in 2011. In turn, income per available room (RevPAR), conditioned by the occupancy registered in the hotel establishments, reached 28.9 euros, with an increase of 1.0 euros as compared with January 2011.

By category, the average invoicing was 139.2 euros for five-star hotels, 72.9 euros for fourstar hotels and 53.2 euros for three-star hotels. Income per available room for these same categories was 65.6, 37.9 and 24.3 euros, respectively.

You can download the full report here: Hotel Tourism Short Term Trends January 2012

Marbella hotel named best in Spain

La Villa Marbella
Number 1 for service in Spain

Trip Advisor have announced the results of their Travellers Choice Hotel Awards 2012 and La Villa Marbella was named as one of the best hotels in the world.

The hotel, situated in Marbella’s Old Town, was crowned as the Best Hotel in Spain for Service, coming fourth in Europe and seventh in the world.

Speaking to The Olive Press before collecting his award owner Marcus Torres, 45, said “How can I put it into words? I’m delighted.”

“I think it’s because of all the extra work we do. Many hotels focus a lot on providing the best facilities and equipment – which of course is important as well – but what makes us different is that we are really, really focused on service,” he added.

The 150 year old building has been refurbished to the highest standard and has been running as a hotel since 2004. It has over 550 reviews on the Trip Advisor website from customers who describe their experience following their visit.

“TripAdvisor is a really authentic reference for people to use,” said Marcus.

While many review websites are compiled by professionals or journalists the reviews on the Trip Advisor website are written by members of the public who have actually stayed there and have first hand experience of the hotel. Marcus added that this makes the site reviews “very credible.”

Other categories in the awards included Best Hotel, Best Beaches and Trendiest Hotel in which another Spanish hotel, the AC Hotel Palacio, Cordoba, came in eighth.

Great commercial opportunity in Malaga

Large Commercial Property For Sale in Málaga – Ref: MFSA381

Commercial Property For Sale in Malaga

Price: 12.000.000€

Immpresive office building set in the heart of Malaga´s financial district.This building is currently being used as private corporate offices due to its location near to the city center and close to all mayor company HQ´s.Also the walking distance to the harbour and specially to Customs and Excise make these premises very interesting for any kind of import and export bussines.This building is currently being sold by the owner who has prepared a very interesting payment scheme for any possible buyers.

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For more information or to arrange a viewing of this beautiful property please contact us using the details below.

Tel: +34 952 907 386 | Mov: 627 979 440
Property For Sale in Marbella

27 Bed Cortijo For Sale in San Pedro de Alcántara

27 Bed Cortijo For Sale in San Pedro de Alcántara – Ref: MFSV366

27 Bed Cortijo For Sale in San Pedro

Price: 4,900,000€

Cortijo style property located between San Pedro and Puerto Banus within a few minutes walk to the beach and shops.Enjoying superbly manicured mediterranean gardens with own water well, built between 1960 and 1970.Office building with three offices, all unsuite bathrooms,ideal for investors who are looking to convert into a hotel or exclusive gentlemans club. Built 1526 m², Terrace 276 m², Garden/Plot 6800 m².

View full details and more photos

For more information or to arrange a viewing of this beautiful property please contact us using the details below.

Tel: +34 952 907 386 | Mov: 627 979 440
Property For Sale in Marbella