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Category: News (167 articles)

Spanish tourism heading for best ever year as August breaks visitor record

Life's a beach for Spain's tourism industry as the country attracts record numbers

Record numbers of foreign tourists visited Spain in August, putting the country on course to break its annual record this year.

Figures from Spain’s Tourism Industry showed that 8.3 million foreign nationals visited Spain in August – a 7.1 per cent increase on 2012. And after a record-breaking summer, the country is set to post record figures for the 12 months of 2013… Continue Reading

Author:Ian Clover 24/09/2013 [0] Comments 
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Good Samaritan hands in lost Spanish lottery ticket

The lottery is a much-loved national pastime throughout Spain Winning the lottery is a dream shared by many. Finding a winning lottery ticket, on the other hand, is a moral conundrum that could split a room down the middle.

Many will simply keep and cash. After all, to win the lottery you need an enormous slice of luck – even if you didn’t purchase a ticket in the first place. There’s no skill involved, either, so cashing in a found winning lottery ticket isn’t getting rich on the endeavours of others… or so runs the argument… Continue Reading

Author:Ian Clover 23/09/2013 [0] Comments 
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The indications are solid: Spain is likely to return to growth next year

Has Prime Minister Rajoy realls steered Spain through the stormiest parts of the recession?

It’s been a five-year period of bust, gloom, recession and record unemployment, but 2014 is likely to herald the return to growth of Spain’s economy, according to the country’s economy minister, Luis de Guindos.

In fact, de Guindos is confident that Spain will emerge from recession before the end of the year, praising the government’s own successful labour reforms for helping to pump new lifeblood into the country’s economyContinue Reading

Author:Ian Clover 20/09/2013 [0] Comments 
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Bike overtakes car… in the affections of the Spanish

The Vuelta a Espana, Spain's Tour de France, is gaining in popularity as cycling takes off

For the first time ever, bikes are outselling cars in Spain.

Whether spurred on by a growing sense of environmental responsibility, a desire to get fit, or simply as a sensible response to an economy and job market that has sputtered and wobbled in recent years, but Spaniards are opting for two wheels over four.

Figures from Spain’s cycle industry have revealed that 780,000 bicycles were purchased in Spain in the last 12 months, accounting for 4% of all bikes bought in Europe. In contrast, just 700,000 new cars were purchased… Continue Reading

Author:Ian Clover 19/09/2013 [0] Comments 
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Buñol’s La Tomatina festival to charge revellers for the first time

Festival-goers at this year's La Tomatina are being charged an entrance fee for the first time

Having a tomato hit squarely in the face used to be something stage actors dreaded. Then it went away for a while, before returning in perhaps its, ahem, puree-est form – in Spain’s famous La Tomatina festival, held every year in the ancient town of Buñol.

As far as Spanish customs go, it’s up there with Pamplona’s running of the bulls, Barcelona’s all-conquering football team, and the Costa del Sol’s brilliant beach resorts as a sort of rite-of-passage pilgrimage for Spain aficionados.

But this year things are going to be different…

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Author:Ian Clover 30/08/2013 [0] Comments 
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Retouched and ruined Christ fresco becomes Spanish tourist attraction

Before and after: the retouched Ecce Homo painting made headlines around the world

It’s never advisable to laugh at the misfortune of others, but who can honestly say they didn’t let out at least a giggle last year when they first laid eyes on Cecilia Giménez’s amateurish attempt to retouch the Ecce Homo fresco of Christ?

The 81-year-old Spanish artist was roundly mocked for turning a delicate, if slightly time-worn, fresco into something that looked like a Lesson 101 in painting-by-numbers

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Author:Ian Clover 18/08/2013 [0] Comments 
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Brits snapping up Spanish wine like never before

Roll out the barrell: Brits have fallen in love with Rioja

First it was the sunshine, then the beaches, then the fact that you could get a gut-busting all-day English breakfast at nearly every resort along the country’s Mediterranean coast.

Lately, it’s been the excellent infrastructure, property, healthcare and education that has attracted Brits to Spain in their droves. And finally, it seems that Brits are learning to appreciate some of the country’s more traditional and authentic attractions – not least its excellent wine.

Figures released by Rioja’s DOC’s wine quality regulation agency show that UK consumers bought 14.8 million litres of Spanish Rioja during the first half of 2013 – an increase of 4.58 per cent on 2012 and more than any other foreign nation…

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Author:Ian Clover 13/08/2013 [0] Comments 
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Energy Efficiency Certificate: expats warned against scams

Make sure that your property's energy certificate is issued by an authorised professional

British newspaper the Daily Telegraph has warned British expats to guard against dodgy operators looking to cash in on June’s new law, which requires anybody who is renting out or selling their Spanish property to obtain an Energy Efficiency Certificate.

These new certificates apply to any property that was built before 2007 (properties built since then should already have one), where the owners are required to retroactively apply for the certificate, which gives a quick and easy assessment of the home’s energy efficiency.

The Telegraph, however, warns that a number of unqualified assessors have begun scamming property owners, offering promises to ‘guarantee’ an A-rating (illegal and sometimes impossible), while some have been recorded selling certificates cheaply and even issuing them without ever having visited the property.

“This is not acceptable in any way,” said José Antonio Galdón, the president of the General Council of Industrial Engineering of Spain. “The Royal Decree requires a skilled and authorised professional to survey the property.”

The illegal assessors are capitalising on the confusion caused by the recent ruling. While a property built after 2007 should theoretically already have a certificate, this is not always the case. A certificate can only be issued by an engineer, architect or qualified technician, and such professionals must also be authorised to carry out thermal installations and building projects.

Additionally, only members of an official provincial association can issue certificates.

If you are unsure about the procedure or need further information, just contact the VIVA Vendor Services team by email to vendorservices@yourviva.com or by calling them on +34 952 768 108.

Author:Ian Clover 01/08/2013 [0] Comments 
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First drop in Spain’s jobless rate for two years

Summer has been good for Spain's job figures, but will the good times last?

Latest official figures from Spain have shown that the country’s unemployment rate has fallen for the first time in two years.

For the second quarter of this year, the jobless figure stood at 26.3 per cent, which is down from 27.2 per cent for the first quarter of the year – a figure that holds the unwanted distinction as the highest ever…

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Author:Ian Clover 29/07/2013 [0] Comments 
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One in five young Brits expects to live abroad by age of 40, survey finds

A fifth of Brits fancy flying the nest for another country before they hit 40

A fifth of all Brits aged under 25 do not expect to be living in the UK by the time they turn 40, suggests a report by GlobalVisas.com.

The survey discovered that many young Brits see a life overseas as the best way to improve their life quality, earn more and enjoy a more fulfilling, happier career…

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Author:Ian Clover 23/07/2013 [0] Comments 
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