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Costa Del Sol

 

The Costa del Sol (literally "Coast of the Sun" or "Sun Coast") is a region in the south of Spain in the autonomous community of Andalusia, comprising the coastal towns and communities along the coastline of the Province of Málaga and the eastern part of Campo de Gibraltar in Cádiz. Formerly made up only of a series of small fishing settlements, today the region is a world-renowned tourist destination. The Costa del Sol is situated between two lesser known coastal regions, the Costa de la Luz and the Costa Tropical.

 

The region has no official limit, but it is generally accepted that the Costa del Sol stretches from the municipality of La Línea de la Concepción in the west to Nerja in the east, spanning around 150 kilometers of coastline. The term Costa del Sol was coined at the beginning of the 20th century by Rodolfo Lussnigg to promote the Almería coastline. Until the late 1960s, it was used in reference to the entire Mediterranean coast of Eastern Andalusia. The name refers to the sunny climate, present in the region most days of the year. The Costa del Sol is one of the most important tourist areas in Spain; around 35% of Andalusia's tourism is concentrated in the region; in 2009 it had 17 million overnight stays. The region was a relatively prosperous commercial and industrial center for much of the 19th century. The tourist boom in the area began in the 1920s with the opening of the Baños del Carmen [es] in Málaga and a golf course in Torremolinos. It became an international tourist destination in the 1950s and is today particularly popular among BritishGermanScandinavian and French tourists. The most populated city on the Costa del Sol is the city of Málaga, with a metropolitan population of close to one million. Málaga is home to the Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport, which is the third busiest airport in mainland Spain,

 

 

behind Barajas (Madrid) and El Prat (Barcelona). The A-7 highway runs through the region, as does the old national highway generally known as N-340. High-speed trains serve the coastal region and inland areas, the AVE service reaches the Málaga-María Zambrano railway station in 2 hours and 46 minutes from Madrid. The Costa del Sol has a population of 1,412,541 inhabitants. The Costa del Sol has spas in MálagaToloxEsteponaBenahavísBenalmádenaMijasTorremolinos and Marbella, the largest concentration of golf courses on the European continent, fifteen marinas, nine theme parks (including amusement parksaquariums and zoos), as well as an information and communication technology business park (PTA), a Google cybersecurity center and a Vodafone research and development center.

1960's and 1970's

The Costa del Sol experienced an explosive demographic and economic expansion with the boom in tourism between 1959 and 1974. The name "Costa del Sol" was a brand created specifically to market the Mediterranean coastline of Málaga province to foreign vacationers. Historically the provincial population had lived in the fishing villages, and in the "white" villages (pueblos blancos) a short distance inland in the mountains running down to the coast. The area was developed to meet the demands of international tourism in the 1950s and has since been a popular destination for foreign tourists not only for its beaches but also for its local culture.

The "Spanish miracle" fed itself on the rural exodus which created a new class of industrial workers. The economic boom led to an increase in rapid, largely unplanned building on the periphery of the cities of the Costa del Sol to accommodate the new workers arriving from the countryside. Some cities preserved their historic centres, but most were altered by often haphazard commercial and residential developments. The same fate befell long stretches of scenic coastline as mass tourism exploded.  Torremolinos' popularity as a tourist destination had a domino effect, and in the late 1960s and early 1970s, nearby municipalities such as BenalmadenaFuengirola and Mijas, also saw a growth in the number of tourists. The 1960s brought a radical change in the appearance of the small fishing villages. Hotels were opened in Nerja and Málaga and promoted by Ricardo Soriano and his nephew Alfonso of HohenloheMarbella became a fashionable destination for aristocrats and the rich. The author Juan Bonilla portrayed the swinging Sixties scene on the Costa del Sol in his non-fiction work of caustic cultural criticism, La Costa del Sol en la hora pop (2007), depicting real-life characters from elderly expatriate Nazis and jailbird criminal politicians to titled aristocratic playboys like Soriano and Hohenlohe.

 

Late 1970's Onwards

The rebuilding of the Málaga Airport was the decisive improvement to infrastructure that facilitated mass tourism on the coast. Low cost charter flights and holiday packages made it a player on the international market. By the 1970s trips to Spain were the predominant business of the European tour operators, and the Costa del Sol continued to increase in popularity through the decade. This trend coincided with rapid industrial growth in Málaga and the decline of dependence on the agricultural sector, although growth in the general economy of Spain slowed almost to a standstill after 1973. As rapid development proceeded on the Costa del Sol, and the influx of expatriate retirees from northern European countries, notably Great Britain, increased during the late 1970s and 1980s. It has since then sometimes been referred to in the press of the United Kingdom as the "Costa del Crime", because British criminals would escape justice at home by moving there to live their lives in luxury. The presence of the Italian Camorra in the Costa del Sol is also so strong that Camorra bosses refer to it as Costa Nostra ("Our Coast"), according to Italian journalist Roberto Saviano, a specialist on the Naples criminal underworld. With tense relations between the UK and Spain over Gibraltarextradition arrangements were not at that time agreed. This phenomenon has been alluded to in films and television shows such as Auf Wiedersehen, PetBad Girls, and The Olsen Gang on the Track, as well as in the more recent films Sexy Beast and The Business. Some of the more famous British criminals known to have fled to the Costa del Sol in the past were Charlie Wilson, Ronnie Knight, Freddie Foreman, Anthony Fraser (grandson of Mad Frankie Fraser), and more recently Andrew Moran. John Disley, nicknamed the "King of Marbella",[citation needed] (not to be confused with the international criminal Monzer al-Kassar whose nickname is the "Prince of Marbella"), masterminded a £700,000 bank fraud. Other European criminal entrepreneurs, many of Russian and Dutch origin, have also settled on this coast for the climate and functional advantages for their enterprises, as well as being active investors in the property sector. The Costa del Sol welcomes millions of tourists annually. Visitors arriving by air can land at either Málaga AirportGranada Airport or Gibraltar International Airport and head to one of the many resorts located along this stretch of coastline from Manilva in the west to Nerja in the east.

 

Transport

Since 1998 the Port of Málaga has been undergoing renovation and expansion as part of the project called the Plan Especial del Puerto de Málaga. There are major projects underway or planned which will radically change the image of the port and surrounding areas. The traffic of goods rose from 2,261,828 metric tonnes in 2010 and more than doubled to 5,448,260 tonnes in 2011.

 

Passenger

Cruise shipping has become an essential industry at the port and a major driver of investment in Málaga. In 2012 there were 651,517 passengers visiting the city on board cruise ships calling at the port, including those who started or ended their cruise in Málaga. The development of the cruise industry is proceeding with a new passenger terminal, port museum, and environmental education centre planned for inclusion in the cruise ship facilities at Quay 2. A commercial marina will also operate from Quay 1, catering to 24 super-yachts of up to 30 metres, and the Eastern Quay passenger terminal will be remodeled to improve pedestrian access and double existing capacity to 560,000 passengers a year. The four ports of Marbella are primarily recreational; although both Puerto Banús and the Puerto de la Bajadilla are permitted to dock cruise ships, neither operates regular service to other ports. The port of Bajadilla is also home to the fishermen's guild of Marbella and is used for the transport of goods. AVE (Alta Velocidad Española, AVE), a high-speed rail service operated by Renfe, the Spanish national railway company, inaugurated the Córdoba-Málaga high-speed rail line, a standard gauge railway line 155 kilometres (96 mi) in length, on 24 December 2007. Designed for speeds of 300 km/h (186 mph) and compatibility with neighbouring countries' rail systems, it connects Málaga and Córdoba. The proposed Costa del Sol railway would link Málaga with Marbella and Estepona.

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