Granada can now enjoy the Alhambra’s Patio of lions

After twenty years closed off and ten years of works, the Nasrid monument can finally be visited. Today is a great day for the Alhambra

Patio de los leones

Patio de los leones (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Almost 400 squared metres of surface of the Alhambra’s Patio of Lions are now paved with Macael white marble slabs, beautifying the famous sculpture that gives the place its name. Just how Muhammad V had planned it in the 14th century as a Nasrid Royal House, and exactly how it was related by the first chroniclers of the time.

The thorough research of the historic documentation from different national archives has revealed that the floor was covered with white marble towards the end of the 15th century, which is why the new intervention comes close to this image also used throughout the history of the monument’s preservation and will contribute to a better preservation of the fountain’s hydraulic system.

The president of the Andalusian government, Jose Antonio Griñan, accompanied by the councillor of Culture and Sport, Luciano Alonso, and the director of the Board of the Alhambra and the Generalife, Maria del Mar Villafranca, assisted to the Patio’s reopening at 11 o’clock this morning, according to the Board’s sources.

The Patio of Lions will once again be visible after more than 20 years, as since 1990 it was only be possible to walk along the gallery, leaving the central area inaccessible. The lions have recovered their original colour and several elements that had deteriorated, like the ears, have now been restored.


The PSOE party wins in Andalusia

A small monkey. Singapore.

A small politician

The Andalusians have chosen PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Español), with the help of IU (Izquierda Unida), to govern Andalusia for next four years. This, consequently, leaves the PP (Partido Popular) occupying the opposition seat despite having won their first elections in 30 years. An explicit desire that is translated in PSOE’s 47 parliamentarians and the 12 of the IULV-CA coalition, enough to reach a vast majority beating the PP’s 50.

But, in an implicit way, the Andalusians have awarded the PSOE the bastion role, placing Jose Antonio Griñan on the top of the prop with whom they intend to demolish the PP’s hegemony all over Spain. You get the feeling that the Andalusians have been reluctant in giving the PP absolute power and have preferred that the Junta de Andalucía (the Andalusian Government) maintain as a counterweight against Rajoy’s government and the rest of innumerable town halls and delegations in Andalusia.

Politics is ruthless and Javier Arenas knows this. His opportunity has vanished with the ingratitude of a sour victory and opens in the PP an unknown succession that Arenas himself must clear if he wants to avoid the frustration taking over his party.

This legislation could become a tragedy if Griñan in Seville and Rajoy in Madrid forget that, today, the main objective is to get out of this crisis, whatever it takes.

Andalusia and Malaga maintain its idyll with the British tourism

Andalucia, one of the three favourite destinations in Spain of these travellers for their summer holidays. The demand of this market increases by 25%

Jardín Botánico Histórico de La Concepción. Má...

Andalusia will become, once again, one of the favourite destinations of the British tourists for next summer. Andalusia is the second destination in Spain for these travellers, right behind Baleares and in front of the Valencia region.

Spain maintains its worldwide leadership as the priority holiday destination for the British tourist. In fact, the holiday demand in Spain on behalf of these travellers during the last trimester of 2011 increased by 27% compared to the same period the year before.

Tenerife and Malaga were the favourite holiday destinations of the Brits during the last three months of last year. Now, the Baleares, Andalusia and the Valencia region are their chosen destinations mainly for next summer, occupying, respectively, the second, fourth and fifth place, together with London, in first place, and Florida, in third.

In general, in the Euro zone countries the British tourism is recovering. In fact, according to their survey, 56% of the population “plan to go on a trip to one of the Euro zone countries in 2012 to take advantage of the current strength of the pound”.

This market is up in Andalusia. It closed 2011 with an 8.1% increase, and consolidated its position as top issuer of visitors for the Andalusian region. In general terms, Andalusia registered the arrival of 21.8 million tourists last year, 500.000 more than in 2010, which means an increase of up to 2.3%.

On the other hand, the offer on holiday accommodations in Spain through the groups website in the UK increased considerably during the last trimester of 2011. Spain sits, for the first time, in tenth position of the ranking of those whose offer most increases.

Around 20 agents will travel throughout Andalusia to reinforce the destination’s commercialisation in the German market

View of the main apron at Malaga Airport, show...

Image via Wikipedia

Around 20 German travel agents will be participating in a familiarisation trip from the 25th to the 27th of November, with the collaboration of the Tourism, Trade and Sport Ministry, that will allow them to improve their knowledge on Andalusia and reinforce the commercialisation of the destination in this market.

These German professionals work with the operator Dertour, considered the most veteran of the German market, moving approximately 4.000 passengers each year during the winter and spring in its division of groups and around 30.000 clients towards Andalusia in its holiday division, according to a statement by the Andalusian administration.

Dertour provide the whole set of Andalusian offers in their catalogues, both coastal and interior, as well as products directly related to the ‘Sun & Sea’ sector, circuits around Andalusia or packages that include the flight plus a car hire to move independently around the destination.

The group of agents will arrive at Malaga airport on the following 25th of November and during their stay in Malaga province they will be visiting Torremolinos. The next day they will be heading towards Cadiz to visit towns such as Conil de la Frontera, Tarifa, Bolonia and Jerez de la frontera.

This reverse action throughout Andalusia will end on the 27th of November with a route around Seville, where they will visit the main tourist attractions of the city like the Royal Alcazar for example, amongst others, and will be then returning to Malaga for a final tour around the Costa del Sol’s capital.

The German market is the second international issuer for Andalusia as a destination, with 611.429 visitors booked into Andalusian hotels between January and September 2011, which means an increase of 4.9% compared to the same period last year.

The tourists coming from this market made a total of 3.019.868 overnight hotel stays during the first nine months of the year, with an increase of 4.8% and have stayed in the destination for an average of 4.94 days.

Brazilian agents visit Andalucia

View of Granada from Alhambra, Spain

A dozen travel agents from the Brazilian market will be directly discovering Andalusia’s touristic offer on a familiarization trip in which the Board of Tourism, Trade and Sport are also involved, with the aim to reinforce the destination’s commercialization in this emerging issuer. This reverse action, that is jointly developed with the Portuguese operator ‘Viajes Abreu’, that also works in Brazil, ends today after starting last Monday. Both, Granada and Seville’s Tourist Boards collaborate with them. The route of this committee of agents throughout Andalusia has concentrated in showing them the destination’s main attractions in some of the sectors most demanded by the travellers from this market, such as the cultural and gastronomic tourism, amongst others, as published in a press note by the Andalusian Government.

‘Viajes Abreu’ will be offering the Brazilian market six itineraries through Andalucia next season, according to an agreement between the operator and the Board of Tourism, Trade and Sport for the destination’s promotion in Portugal and Brazil.

Andalucia is a place to visit and experience by yourself, what are you waiting to come?

Torremolinos, Costa del Sol leads again tourism in Andalucia

"La Batería" Park, Torremolinos, Cos...

Image via Wikipedia

Torremolinos again led tourism in Andalucia last September, as shown by the data provided by the National Statistics Institute with almost half a million overnight stays.

While Spanish tourists traveling to the Costa del Sol are opting for short stays, the average foreign tourist stays about a week to enjoy the mild Mediterranean climate of the coast of Malaga.

The province of Malaga on the Costa del Sol

Who speaks of traditional historic Spanish cities thinks primarily of Seville, Cordoba, Barcelona or Madrid. But also Malaga, the Andalusian port city on the Costa del, Sol offers many cultural attractions. And the province of Malaga, with its unique location on the sunny coast of the Costa del Sol, features impressive mountain ranges and picturesque villages in the hinterland. Malaga is the ideal destination for a beach holiday, family holiday, activity holiday or a sightseeing holiday.

Beach holiday in the province of Malaga

The beautiful beaches and Mediterranean climate guarantee bathing pleasure nearly throughout the year. A touch of luxury can be found on the beaches of the jet-set resort Marbella. From the marina to the fishing port stretch several long sandy beaches. Party, fun and lots of water sports activities can be found on the beaches of the popular tourist resorts of Torremolinos and Benalmadena.

Malaga for art and culture fans

Malaga is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. The famous artist was born here in 1881. Therefore, the visit of the “Picasso Museum” is a must!

The imposing Moorish Alcazaba palace is a fortress from the 11th century. It was part of a defense system of the Arabs. It is surrounded by a beautiful walkway around the palace and from the upper part of the hill you can enjoy the magnificent views of Malaga and the Mediterranean Sea.

Malaga for nature lovers

A small tropical paradise is the “Jardin Botanico Historico”. In 1850, the romantic park was laid out with many exotic plants, some of which come from America, Australia and the Philippines.

Anyone planning a holiday in Malaga on the Costa del Sol will find numerous flight offers, because the popular town is served by almost all airports. Accommodations are also very numerous, from the luxurious hotel, to simple guest houses, holiday apartments or private rural cottages and villas on the Costa del Sol.

The arrival of Russian tourists to Andalucia has increased by 40%

El President de la Generalitat, Alberto Fabra,...

World Travel Market

The Andalusian government’s Tourism, Trade and Sport councillor, Luciano Alonso, had a business breakfast at London’s World Travel Market (WTM) with representatives of almost a dozen British tourist operators, that have estimated that 2012 will be a ‘very positive’ year for Andalusia ‘from all points of view’, according to ABC Destinations’ co-president Robert S. Paris.

In this sense, Paris specified to the press that the area’s stability “is a symptom of recovery and will be good for Andalusia”. Also, he added, months like October and March, “that are of a low touristic level”, are increasing.

The operators that have participated in this encounter are Kirker Travel – City Tourism and Getaways, Martin Randall Travel – Cultural Trips, United Kingdom’s Independent Tour Operators Association (AITO), Page & Moy Travel – Personalised Trips, Golf Breaks – Golf Tourism, ABC Destinations – Luxury Tourism, and Flamenco Tours – Flamenco Tourism.

Alonso has pointed out that next year the United Kingdom “will still be looking at Andalusia, there will be an increase in expenses, in the number of tourists and overnight stays, not sure how much, last year the tour operators got it right and hopefully they will this year as well”.

At this point, he refused to make any predictions for this year’s closure or for 2012 but he has pointed out that “there will be increases for sure”. “We are going through a tremendous uncertainty but we have spent years where it had declined – in British tourism – and we are recovering”, said the councillor.

These professionals have emphasized the importance of the offer’s diversification and have shown interest in the Andalusian interior middle cities, the gastronomy, the culture, as well as protected natural parks such as Doñana, Cabo de Gata and Cazorla. “They are not just going to settle for the traditional routes, they want new ones and have shown a lot of interest”. he stated.

Another sector on which the tour operators have insisted has been Golfing and its strength in the United Kingdom “as a fundamental element”. Although Malaga and Cadiz gather 80% of the Andalusian courses, according to Alonso they have requested that it intensifies in Huelva.

The Andalusian tourism councillor has pointed out they have equally shown interest in Sierra Nevada, “with the offer’s transformation for the youth”, rejuvenating this way the arrival of tourists from the UK, in which the average age is 45 years old, and has also named Malaga capital city as an example: “we are heirs to the Roman Theatre, the Cathedral, Gibralfaro or the Alcazaba but we also have the Picasso Museum or the Thyssen; it’s not all only sun and beaches”.

“We create new products, we go a step further and that is tremendously valued”, he manifested, whilst he added the importance of the quality, “that is increasing day by day in Andalusia”; the improvement in hotels, the catering, with over a dozen ‘Michelin’ stars; the proximity and the frequency of flights to Andalusia.

Russian Tourism

On the other hand, the Andalusian councillor has referred to the meeting held in this fair with the tour operator Natalie Tours, specialized in the Russian market, an issuer of which its arrival has increased from January to September by 40 per cent.

To be specific, 98.000 travellers have been received from this market, that have a a high purchasing power; in fact, the idea is to extend the market to Ukraine with an air connection with Kiev. “It’s not only about the tourists coming here, but how we treat them and the experiences we offer them as well”, insisted Alonso, who reminded the importance of loyalty and constancy.