One of Hollywood’s main film distributors is considering stopping its supply of DVDs to Spain due to the high level of piracy here (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The director of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Michael Lynton, raised the possibility of such a dramatic move in an interview with the Los Angeles Times—Lynton said that the rate of illegal internet downloads is so high in Spain that the country is very close to stopping being a viable market for the film giant, and statistics about the sale of illegal DVDs in Spain support his fears regarding the future of the legal industry. Last year, more than 25 million pirated DVDs are reported to have been sold from ‘top manta’ sellers (street sellers who lay their wares out on blankets, or mantas in Castilian). On top of this were those films illegally downloaded from the internet—in comparison, only 14.6 million DVDs were bought legally in Spain during 2009, which was a 26 percent drop compared to 2008. In 2005, the sale and rental of DVDs was worth €400 million in Spain, but by last year that figure had fallen to just €172 million. The secretary-general of the Unión Videográfica Española, José Manuel Tourné, criticised the Spanish authorities for their lack of action in the face of such a change in the sector’s fortunes: “Nobody does anything. And what we need is a change in education so that people stop thinking that culture is free.”
The Catalan minister for innovation, universities and business, Josep Huguet, has said that the annual Saloufest festival, renowned for attracting young Britons for so-called ‘drinking tourism’, is a "nostalgia event" that has little to do with the present state of Catalunya tourism sector (read article in Catalan here, Avui). Speaking in Girona at the presentation of a project for the region's tourism sector for the next few years, Huguet said about the week-long Saloufest held each Easter for the past seven years, that is was a small item in the context of the 24 million tourists who visit Catalunya each year. He added that the region would increasingly marginalise such tourism and that councils and the tourism sector at large would do all they could to move away from these kinds of events, while insisting that the Catalan government is more interested in tourism based in quality and identity. The organiser of Saloufest, ilovetour.co.uk, has in the past day amended the information on its webpage about the event to eliminate explicit references to the extreme consumption of alcohol, a feature that had provoked criticism from the Salou council earlier in the week.
This Easter break is offering optimism to the tourist sector thanks to an increase in reservations of both hotels and holidays, as well as in the number of people taking flights in and out of Barcelona’s airport (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Thanks in part to the positive weather forecast for this weekend, the tourist sector is benefiting from an increased number of bookings compared to last year: for instance, there is a rise of four percent in the number of people taking flights this week in comparison to 2009. While some are more cautious in their assessment of this year’s statistics, with one source saying they only expect to have the same number of reservations as in 2009, sources at on-line travel agency Atrapalo.com say that the company has seen a rise of 28 percent in holiday bookings this year compared to 2009. Travel agencies are also reporting an increase in the number of people booking their summer holidays already.
Also in the news: Spanish government seeks way to reduce redundancy costs as part of review of employment market (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia); Barcelona mayor says it’s definite that tram line will run the length of the Diagonal as part of the avenue’s reformation works (read full article in Catalan here, Avui); Costa Brava towns working to repair beaches before summer season starts (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia)