Now is the time to consider the next annual International Tourism and Trade fair. Held in Madrid, FITUR will celebrate its 33rd edition from January 30th to February 3rd, 2013. It is the global meeting point for tourism professionals and the leading trade fair for inbound and outbound Iberico American markets.
In 2012, confirming the initial steps towards recovery in the industry, over 9500 companies from 167 countries and regions attended the fair earlier this year. Around 120,000 participants and 90,000 from the general public attended FITUR to continue the ongoing rise of Spain’s leisure industry and attendant businesses. All the signs are that the next one will host even more.
Furthermore, there were over 6000 journalists from 54 countries and the task as always is to represent Spain as one of the leading destinations for tourism. The total turnout demonstrates that FITUR remains as one of the most important events on the international tourist circuit.

Madrid

Despite the eurozone crisis and Spain’s economic state and unemployment, 2012 looks to be one of Spain’s most successful years for tourism. The expectation is to see a rise in the 57 million foreign tourists who visited in 2011. Even that year saw an 8.1% increase over the previous year. As usual great Britain and Germany made up the largest increase rising some 9% and 3% respectively for each country.
Spain is not the only country to be going through difficult times. It is also happening in practically every other country that affects the number of people visiting this country and we should take full advantage of this fact. It still represents the best value for money and the best climate for those people wishing to enjoy their holidays and leisure and it must be our business to ensure that this continues.
Spain has always been a major draw as the fourth most visited country in the world therefore, this criteria is not surprising. Particularly regarding the English, where an estimated 750,000 live in Spain, The Iberian peninsula, warmer weather, beautiful beaches and the still cheaper cost of living has been a draw for Europeans for decades.
Following what was called the Arab spring, those people who began visiting particularly the middle east are now looking back again towards Spain. The volatile situation in that eastern area means that people are hesitant to go there now and during the coming year.

This will help the Spanish hotel industry in its recovery which will be good news for all concerned. It is a promising sign not just for Spain but for the EU as consumers will feel more confident in saving for their holidays abroad and our country in particular.
What we do not want to see are widespread strikes. Times are difficult with the increase in unemployment in Spain but tourism accounts for around 10% of the Spanish GDP. It is one of the important factors in this country’s economy and will continue to be so in spite of any internal problems. Therefore it is vitally important that we service our visitors in the best possible way or we will lose them to those countries offering less expensive new tourist destinations. Particularly around the eastern Mediterranean.
Regarding FITUR, Andulusia will continue to be the main attraction. Following its last presentation with an entire building dedicated to showing every aspect of its wonderful offerings, the coming fair will undoubtedly continue to feature classic guitar, flamenco dancers and its wonderful food and friendly people.

 

Following a move earlier this year, described by some as strange for the golf nation of Spain, when the regional government of Andalusia approved sweeping new laws regarding the development of golf courses, that is now being reflected in other regional governments of the country.
The regulations, approved during February after considerable months of debate, dramatically limit the number of properties that can be constructed on a golf course. Furthermore, any new courses are required to use recycled water for irrigation.
The move has been seen as a method to stop the huge level of golf courses being progressed in the country. In the past eight years, more than one hundred courses have been built in Spain. Most of these have included high density residential development mainly targeted towards the foreign buyer. It prompted one media editor, Juan Area of El Observador, to say that even though he does not have anything against golf, he thought they were just too many golf courses.

Golf Spain
In Andalusia, the golf courses there are account for more than one third of the total in Spain with over 118 now fit for play. Nine new courses were opened in the past four years alone, according to the Royal Federation of Golf in Spain.
However, few believe that the development of golf courses in Spain will come to nought. Without doubt, it still provides the strongest demand for the golf market in Western Europe. The Golf Advisory Practice of KPMG, which tracks the market, state that since the year 2000 the number of players affiliated with clubs in Spain has more than doubled to approximately 300,000.
Despite the decrease in property development, there are still many projects in the advanced stages of planning with many of these located in inland areas where there are relatively few golf courses.

It is thought that although there is an element of control, the powerful influence of developers with money will override any hindrance and in the medium to long term, will have no impact on reducing golf course development.
This is excellent news for Spain as a country and for the inland areas where these types of development will bring new life and employment. There is no doubt that the influence of town halls will also continue to ensure that the envisaged projects will continue to fruition.
With regard to the Costa del Sol, the spread of golf courses inland is an example of how important the development of golf courses is. Golf tourism is a section that generates much needed funds during the winter months. It also keeps Spain as a tourist destination for those European and Scandinavians living in northern climes all year round very much in mind. After all, tourism does represent a huge contributor of funds for the coffers of the country. It therefore makes absolute common sense that the continuation of golf course development and property progresses without further hindrance.

 

For an away day from the coast, there is nothing quite exhilarating as a trip to the Lakes of Malaga. Located only some 50 km north of the city of Malaga, with the superb road infrastructure it is possible to reach them within an hour.
By visiting the Lakes, you will see scenery and green forests and dramatic landscapes that literally take your breath away. Travelling through parts of Spain that are so often missed by visitors; with almond trees and olive groves in profusion set against gentle rolling hills.

But there is a surprise before you actually reach the Lakes. You will come to the incredible Garganta del Chorro, near the small pueblo of El Chorro. This spectacular gorge carries the river from the Lakes through the mountains on its way to Malaga. Along one side of the gorge is a walkway that is literally pinned into the cliffs. It is known as the King’s walkway or the Caminito del Rey. It is literally a narrow ledge, with some of it with no handrail or safety facilities. It is only possible for those with nerves of steel and the ability of mountain goats to traverse it. The gorge is some 4 km long with the box on each side of the river reaching over 200 m high.

One of the interesting sites to be seen is the railway bridge connecting both sides of the rock faces and where the train runs through from Malaga to Cordoba and Madrid.
Once you reach the Lakes themselves, there are many scenic walks to take along the shores and in the surrounding countryside. There are also a number of restaurants and cafes located in the small pueblos dotted around.

Costa del sol
The whole area is a natural park with its wildlife protected and the walking routes marked for easy access. Alcazar de Bobastro near El Chorro is the remains of an old Moorish fortress and Iglesia Rupestre de Bobastro, the ruins of the first church in Spain.
Malaga Lake is over 100 acres in size. It is well known for good bass fishing and is a popular destination among locals for swimming and picnicking. In addition to abundant fish, the lake hosts a variety of wildlife including multiple species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and dragonflies that can be viewed from the water’s edge and woodland trails.

The best way to see this wonderful hinterland is to rent a car from Cargest. The company has a reputation for not only superb cars but also offering excellent advice for your day in the Lakes of Malaga. Indicating the best sites such as picnic tables, charcoal grills, beach, and playground. All designed to make this an easy place to have a great time with the whole family.
So take advantage and be sure to visit very soon.

 

HispacarThe rise in the number of online car hire comparison websites like Holidayautos, Doyouspain or Travelsupermarket does not necessarily makes things easier for travellers who are looking for the cheapest car rental in Spain.

Most tourists who use these sites to book a vehicle in Spain do no buy on quality, but exclusively on price. In order to be competitive car hire brokers are forced to offer very attractive base prices online. One of the few ways to achieve this is to use companies who cut the basic rental prices to the limit. By doing this rental companies can only make a profit if they increase the cost of a full tank of fuel or if they sell additional insurance cover.

A quick check on the price of a week’s car hire in Alicante through the online broker www.hispacar.com in late October shows a pricetag of 50 pounds per week including basic CDW insurance. If you include the cost of full cover (no insurance excess) for theft and damages increases the prices to 78 pounds. This is still much cheaper than for instance with Europcar in Alicante, which charges well over 100 pounds for a vehicle from the same category. This price almost doubles when you include a full insurance to cover al exceptions of the basic CDW.

Ideally a customer should know the name of the local car rental company, the price of a full tank of petrol and the cost of additional insurance before booking online with brokers like Amigoautos, Economycarhire or Autoeurope.