Foreign tourists 'deserting overbuilt costas'
16 March 2006, MADRID — Foreign tourists are increasingly starting to shun Spain's over-developed costas, according to a new survey.
16 March 2006
MADRID — Foreign tourists are increasingly starting to shun Spain's over-developed costas, according to a new survey.
A report by the Spanish tourism group Exceltur has found that 70 percent of foreign tourists who have visited Spain at least three times are not coming back.
Alarm bells are ringing as frantic construction during the past 20 years along the Mediterranean coast "threatens environmental sustainability" and has undermined Spain's attractiveness for tourists, the report concludes.
The report is particularly concerned about the re-zoning of hundreds of hectares of coastal land, which allows for more holiday resorts to be built.
Exceltur say the capacity of coastal resorts could grow from 13.6 million hotels and villas today to 40 million in ten years.
It claims the only solution is to slow the pace of coastal construction – which has already started to happen.
A recent report by the BBVA bank warns that construction along the coast will fall by 5 percent in 2006.
But this contrasts with the 7 percent increase in hotel capacity between 2000 and 2004, according to figures from the tourism ministry.
Madrid has said it wants to restrict new building projects in areas which it considers are saturated, but this does not mean powerful regional governments will follow suit.
Raimon Martínez Fraile, secretary of state for tourism, said: "Ultimately, business people must table their requests to the governments of the Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Valencia, Andalusia and the Canaries because that's where the problems are."
Alejandro Uriate, former executive of construction companies Metrovacesa and Ferrovial, said: "Development along the Spanish coast is conducted irrationally. These plans are steered by political parties and are used to create Popular Party cities and Socialist cities.
"If growth continues, it will be impossible for city councils to offer the same kinds of services without additional investments in infrastructure, water supply and water treatment facilities, waste management technology and energy supply."
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news