Photo by: Lee Woolcock
Cruise ships are playing an increasingly important role in the city's tourism industry
Home-owners in Empuriabrava, many of them foreign residents from Britain and Germany, have had parts of their property put at risk due to a decision regarding the demarcation of the canals that run through the Costa Brava town and marina (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Following years of uncertainty, the general director for Coastal and Sea Sustainability, Pedro Antonio Ríos Martínez, has signed a public demarcation order for the canals on the inland port and residential estate, which is located close to Castelló d'Empúries. The main consequence for those living there is that they will lose the right to private moorings and jetties as anything concerning the marine water has been determined as public dominion.The properties will also be affected by a right of way of a distance of six metres from the canal which aims to give direct public access to the sea. As such, property-owners won't be able to develop this piece of land, although they won't actually lose the ownership of it. For many, this affects their gardens, swimming-pools and parts of their houses - "It even passes straight through the beds in some houses," according to the Empuriabrava Property-Owner Association. Many local home-owners had hoped that the final demarcation decision would be more favourable to them, but in the end it has changed little from the document put out for public consultation. The government rejected the claim that the marina should be treated differently when determining coastal demarcation, an argument put forward by the CiU deputy in the Spanish congress, Pere Macias. Empuriabrava is located 1.5 kilometres from the official coastline.
Three super-cruiseliners are predicted to help bring a record number of passengers to Barcelona this year (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). This is the result of some of the major cruise companies in the world, Royal Carribean, NCL and Carnival, deciding to take advantage of the continuing boom in the sector to bring three of their biggest ships to Barcelona, which has become one of the key ports in the Mediterranean for this business. This means that the number of visitors coming to the Catalan capital in 2011 is expected to supercede all previous records, with around 2.5 million people likely to stop off here as part of their cruise holiday during the year; in 2010, 2.35 million passengers were registered. At this point, 862 landings by cruise ships are expected at Barcelona's port by the end of the year, a slight increase on last year's figures. The woman in charge of cruise ships at the Barcelona Port Authority, Carla Salvadó, said that the numbers are predicted to keep rising as the size of the ships coming into Barcelona continues to grow, although final figures will depend on how full the ships arriving are. The companies have said that, based on reservations, they are optimistic about the actual number of passengers who will pass through the city.
The president of the Catalan Film Academy, actor and director Joel Joan, has said that he has been unsuccessful in his talks with sources in the United States film industry in persuading them to let the Academy submit candidate films to the Oscars (read article in Catalan here, Avui). Joan had hoped to have the freedom to send in films for the Best Foreign Language category separate from the Spanish Film Academy. However, in an interview yesterday on the Catalan news channel 3/24, he said that the Hollywood Academy had told him its rules state that all films had to be submitted to it through a state institution, such as the Spanish one. Joan was speaking in the light of the recent success of the Catalan language film Pa Negre in obtaining 14 nominations for the Goya Awards, the Spanish equivalent of the Oscars. He explained that in October 2009, he travelled to Hollywood to present a series of Catalan films to executives there, in the hope that they would open the door to the Catalan Academy directly nominating its own candidates for the Oscar presented each year to a film that uses a language other than English. At the time, he thought there was a possibility of a positive outcome; however, following extensive talks, Joan admits that this is now very unlikely.