Data shows that the windy city of Tarifa has registered the best hotel occupancy in the entire province of Cádiz, which is the most popular destination in Andalucía for national tourism.
We all knew that this summer would be like no other… The impact that the COVID19 pandemic on the tourism and hospitality industry is being felt in and around the Campo de Gibraltar, even in traditionally popular coastal areas and beach resorts, like the nearby Costa de la Luz, Cádiz, and the Costa del Sol, Malaga.
Even so, the tourism sector together with local government bodies continue to endeavour to attract the largest possible number of visitors from other areas of Spain now that the realisation has set in that there is little hope this year of recovering the losses in foreign tourism.
The Provincial Federation of Hospitality Entrepreneurs of Cádiz (Horeca) has estimated a hotel occupancy of 52.7% for the month of August in the entire province, which is down 39 points compared with this time last year, where occupancies of almost 100% were reached (specifically 91.5%).
According to the Horeca forecasts, this month Tarifa (Campo de Gibraltar), will see the largest number of visitors, with hotel occupancy projected to be at 64.5% (nearly 12 points above the provincial average). This was followed by Conil da la Frontera and Zahara de los Atunes (Barbate) with projected occupancy rates of 61.3% and 60.1% respectively.
These figures are a slight improvement compared with the numbers we saw in July, where occupancy reached 50.8%; 34 points less than the same month last year. By municipalities, La Línea saw the greatest collapse in terms of hotel occupancy; registering only 21.7% occupancy this July compared to 84.4% in 2019.Algeciras has also suffered a severe drop by 23 points, with July seeing hotel occupancy at 59.6% compared with 82.9% last year.
Miguel Rodríguez, the delegate of Tourism of the Junta de Andalucía in Cádiz, said “our province leads in national tourism within the autonomous regions”, and this year, interest in inland destinations has increased. “In these circumstances, with the uncertainty of whether we would have a summer or not, at least the furniture is being saved,” he said in an interview with the Europa Press.
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Municipalities in the Campo de Gibraltar, as with other municipalities in Andalusia, have devised various initiatives in a bid to attract more visitors during this unusual summer, which has seen many Spaniards deciding to spend their holidays in rural areas as opposed to the typical beachside destinations.
The city of Tarifa now has its very own song called “Universo Tarifa”, composed by singer-songwriter Vanesa Martín on behalf of the City Council, which has been used as the theme song for a new promotional video. At a press conference, Councillor Lucía Trujillo expressed gratitude to this well-known artist from Malaga for her cooperation.
She “did not hesitate” to accept the offer by the municipal Department of Tourism: to create a song inspired by the area. Martín, who was unable to be attend the presentation physically and instead joined in remotely, complimented this creative initiative. “An opportunity”, as she called it, to translate everything that inspires her about Tarifa into the language of music. She said that Tarifa is her favourite place to escape to, which she says is a land of “infinite freedom and energy”.
Although unrelated to the abovementioned initiative, it so happens that another Spanish musician, David Bisbal, showcased the music video for his last record, “Amor amé”, which was partly filmed in the ancient Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia (which has once again placed emphasis on the performing arts this year, by hosting the Anhost festival, and other theatrical performances).
In only a few days, “Amor amé”, which was officially released during the second week of August and directed by Algeciras filmmaker Alexis Morante, exceeded 2 million views on YouTube. The music video hit YouTube’s trending list which was incredible free advertising for Tarifa.
And so, despite the obligatory mask wearing and other rules, the central streets of the windy city of Tarifa have been full of life this year, with its paradisiacal beaches which are internationally renowned for windsurfing and kite surfing. However, the beaches were closed off on several occasions due to exceeding the maximum capacity, which generated traffic jams and tailbacks, a typical occurrence in other years.
One of the many initiatives to inject a sense of optimism into the Spanish tourism sector has been the recent launch of the ‘Gadir All Stars’ Association, whose aim is to “promote gastronomic tourism throughout the province, as well as to promote and provide maximum exposure for the hotel industry.” Linked to the non-profit “Marbella All Stars” Association, their main function is to “set up gastronomic events which are associated with iconic places to promote the destination”.
“The province of Cádiz has enormous potential, with some of the most high quality restaurants that operate at a very creative level, and now there is a great need to give more exposure to these destinations,” said the director of this new entity, the journalist María Asenjo who explained that “all the money that is generated is reinvested into these destinations.” This association has recently celebrated its 5th convention, which presented awards for “Excellent Gastronomic Tourism trends for the post-Covid society”.
We must not forget that, despite capacity limits and other measures, quality gastronomy has continued throughout the summer. This has been the case in the centre of La Línea, the seaside neighbourhood of Palmones (Los Barrios), or in the Ribera del Marlin and the Port of Sotogrande, San Roque. Polo has also continued to be one of the strengths of the luxurious Sanroqueña urbanization, internationally known for its golf courses.
The gastronomic and cultural offering in Algeciras has also not been lacking, where the great event of the summer has undoubtedly been the Cabaret Festival: a cycle of “intimate” concerts, at reduced capacity, which is taking place between August 4 and 18 at the bullring, which has already seen renowned artists such as Pablo López, El Kanka, India Martínez, Miguel Poveda and violinist Ara Malikian, among others.