Sunday, September 29, 2013

Are they tourists or visitors?

In the heyday, towns in the Vega Baja tried to develop a model of tourism, they even visited fairs to promote the idea.

In Bigastro for example, the mayor at the time sold land at La Pedrera to build an aparthotel with conference facilities and golf practice ranges. Other towns had golf courses so why not Bigastro. The fact that there was nothing else in Bigastro to attract tourists and that the route to the hotel was via a country lane was not even considered. Thankfully, the idea was squashed when the area was deemed to be parkland without proper permission for building.

Although Bigastro might be a good place to live, it hardly rates as a tourist destination. The same applies to most of the other towns of the Vega Baja. People might visit them but they are not tourists by any definition.

To support the influx of tourists that they thought would flock here, 14 Tourist Information offices were built in the area. In obvious destinations like Torrevieja, Guardamar del Segura and Orihuela these could be justified but how could you justify such offices in San Miguel de Salinas, Dolores, San Fulgencio, Almoradí or Callosa de Segura?

Since these small towns do not have tourists as such, it must be hard for anyone to argue that these offices should be kept open. Even in these difficult economic times, it seems that nobody is sure just how much they cost but estimates put the one in San Fulgencio at 55,000 euros per year.

So why do they not just close them down and save money?

The opposition parties in these towns would probably agree with that idea but the ruling parties have vested interests. These are “jobs for the boys” and so the offices remain open. I imagine that the people in them must spend all day straightening out the leaflets in the hope that maybe one or two visitors might pop in for a chat. 

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