Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Málaga to host the 3rd International Cultural Tourism Fair

Picture of the Málaga Exhibition and Conference Hall

From 21 to 24 September, the Málaga Exhibition and Conference Hall will be the seat of the 3rd International Cultural Tourism Fair.

This year, the trade show’s programme features a wide range of parallel activities to discuss and analyze this segment, which is gaining importance in the travel industry by the day.

Through its International Marketing Department, the Costa del Sol Tourist Board will be present at the Turismo Andaluz stand, and it will attend the workshop with international tour operators specialising in cultural tourism that have been invited by Turespaña.

As in previous editions, the Tourist Board was part of the Organising Committee, in charge of the special programme for international media and tour operators, who will have the chance to visit Málaga and get to know the province in depth. At the weekend, after the rofessional meetings, international visitors can take advantage of post tours round Andalusia.

At the welcome dinner, which is traditionally held on the day the Fair is officially inaugurated and attended by every institution present, “La Málaga de Picasso” (“Picasso’s Málaga”) will be introduced to all tour operators, media representatives, local authorities and travel professionals from the province.

A special section will be dedicated to cultural tourism meetings, organised by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) and the Spanish Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism (AECIT). This section includes two lectures and a round table with AECIT members, university scholars and travel professionals discussing “Cultural Tourism in Spain: New Products, New Markets”.

In addition, the Network for Heritage, Tourism and Sustainable Development (IBERTUR), comprised of heritage management professionals, has organised a meeting for the exchange of knowledge and experience and for technical cooperation, leading to the statement of common work guidelines.

One of IBERTUR’s initiatives, the Network for Archaeological Tourism (ARQUEOTUR), will be present at the fair, publicising the archaeological heritage among professional visitors and the general public.

Parallel activities include meetings of AECIT’s Board and the European Academy of Tourism, the presentation of the “Revista Andaluza de Patrimonio Histórico” special issue on cultural routes, and the introduction of European Academy of Tourism by its President, Claude Origet.

The fair will have a special section for especially charming, cultural and boutique hotels, showing the facilities that stand out for their peculiar characteristics and commercialising these products with the attending public.

Travel agencies will also have a special area to sell their cultural holiday packages to those who would like to merge relax with learning. Indeed, both the hotels and the travel agencies present at the fair will present visitors buying their trips or making reservations with special offers.

International stands include those of Mexico, China and the Dominican Republic.
As for Spanish routes, there will be representatives of Grupo de Ciudades Patrimonio de la Humanidad (World Heritage Cities), Red de Juderías – Caminos de Sefarad (Network of Jewish Quarters in Spanish Cities), Ruta Vía de la Plata (Spanish Silver Route), Ruta Bética Romana (Route of Roman Andalusia), and Fundación Camino de la Lengua Castellana (Foundation for the Route of the Spanish Language), among others.

Costa del Sol Tourist Board

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Nazi apologist and Holocaust denier arrested in Benalmádena

Spanish police arrested in Benalmádena the alleged Nazi apologist and Holocaust denier Gerd Honsik, 15 years after he fled his homeland to evade a prison sentence.
The seizure was made after a European-wide arrest warrant was issued by judge Baltasar Garzón and was carried out by the National Police and the organised crime unit on the Costa del Sol.

65-years-old Honsik was arrested last Thursday at 14.20 at his Benalmádena home.
He is wanted for actions he carried out in his native Austria between 1986 and 1989 when he distributed publications in Vienna that denied the Jewish holocaust.

This printed material said that groups of Jews were not exterminated by the Third Reich at concentrations camps. He expressed his views in his book ‘Absolution of Hitler’ and in the magazine ‘Halt’. In them he denied that the gas chambers existed and said the chimeys of the supposed gas chambers at Auschwitz where actually on the roof of a single storey house.
According to the magazine, the US was at war for one reason only: the desire for economic growth (“the undemocratic American right to amass wealth,”) for which the Jews were responsible:
“Only a few families have the power to print green paper to the value of one cent… and to label it ‘100 dollars’ and then to place this deadwood at the state’s disposal at interest.”

Honsik was found guilty in 1992 by a court in Vienna and sentenced to 18 months in prison and fled to Spain to escape from Austrian Justice.
“The gas chambers existed only to delouse the Jews, because there was an epidemic in Germany,” said Gerd Honsik during his trial.
Denying the Holocaust in Austria, which provided a significant number of top Nazi leaders including Hitler, is a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The Spanish High Court had previously dismissed a petition from Honsik that he should be considered a political refugee in Spain, a ruling that was later ratified by the country’s Supreme Court.

Many other Nazi sympathisers have also lived with total impunity for years on the Costa del Sol in the past.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hotel managers at the Costa del Sol satisfied with this year's figures

Hotel managers at the Costa del Sol are satisfied with the 2007 Summer Season in spite of the reduction of the average time spent by tourists.

Salvador VilchesThe president of the Spanish Hotel's Association in the Costa del Sol (AEHCOS), Salvador Vilches, said that the summer “has gone well” and that it is expected that August will end with an average occupation superior to 88 percent.

The reduction of the average stay time of tourists at the Costa del Sol has been compensated with a greater number of clients, who are choosing to spend more money in activities and restaurants outside the hotels.

Most of the tourists lodged in July and August in hotels at the Costa del Sol have been Spanish nationals from Andalucia, Madrid, Catalonia and Extremadura.

Vilches trusted that September will also be a good month for this tourist zone, since every year is becoming “a more attractive” month, and remembered that last year's occupation during September went over 80 percent.

As far as the competition, he said that all the destinies are competing with the Costa del Sol “because they are cheaper”. Among them, he mentioned Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, Croatia or Morocco.

To face this competitors, “the challenge is to provide a good service, instead of trying to offer cheaper prices”, assured the president of AEHCOS.

He also stressed the importance of promotional campaigns in traditional foreign markets, such as the British and German, as well as the Nordic, Italian and other from emergent countries like Rumania, Bulgaria or Poland.