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Russian tourism could increase by 10% in the Costa Daurada thanks to a new orthodox church

The Friends of Russia Foundation is planning to build an orthodox church on the Costa Daurada, the southern coast of Catalonia. The new temple would be the first Russian orthodox one in Catalonia and the biggest one in Spain. It is aimed at Russian visitors, the most emerging touristic market in the area over recent years. The construction of the temple could mean a 10% rise in Russian tourists on the southern Catalan coasts. Its location will be made public at the end of March. Besides, according to the Catalan minister of Business and Occupation, Russian tourism will grow 40% in Catalonia this year. Last year one million Russians spent their holidays in Spain, and 600,000 stayed in Catalonia. Out of this 600,000, 70% chose the Costa Daurada, followed by the Costa Brava.

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26 April 2013 08:19 PM

by

ACN / Marc C. Griso / Xavier Pi / Laia Ros

Salou (ACN).- The Friends of Russia Foundation is planning to build an orthodox church on the Costa Daurada, the southern coast of Catalonia. The new temple would be the first orthodox one in Catalonia and the biggest one in Spain and is aimed at Russian visitors, the most emerging tourist market in the area over recent years. It would be a space to celebrate the Orthodox faith and cult, as well as a place to transmit and divulge the Russian culture. According to the first estimate carried out by the Foundation, the construction of the temple could mean a 10% rise in Russian tourists on the southern Catalan coasts


Spain receives almost 1.2 million Russian tourists a year, and 75% of them choose the Costa Daurada. According to data from different observatories, visitors from the Russia have increased by 30% to 40% in the last few years.

Octavio A. Sanromá, the President of the Friends of Russia Foundation, said that if the church is finally built, it will be the most important one in the Spain, surpassing the number of faithful who attend the temples in Madrid and Marbella. The project would occupy between 2,600 and 3,000 square metres, would have a capacity for 2,000 people and would have five domes. Private funds investment would oscillate between three and six million euros.

The Foundation has already presented the project to the Cambrils and Salou city councils, before choosing one of them to build the temple. The decision would be announced this Spring. It has to be decided whether or not the church will include a cemetery, due to the fact that people of Orthodox faith tend to spend the last days of their lives in their own countries.

Both Salou and Cambrils city councils told ACN that they are willing to collaborate with the Russian community which spends its holidays on Costa Daurada. However, the conditions that the Foundation proposes do not fit with the spaces available for religious centres in the towns. Among them, the city chosen should give the space to build the temple for free, according to the Orthodox tradition, and the church should not pay land value tax, just like Catholic churches in Spain. Sanromà argued that even if the temple were not to pay taxes or the land, it would lead to a growth in tourism, which would mean big business for the city.

The President of the Foundation added that besides creating the Orthodox temple, their main goal is create a number of venues that would boost cultural exchange, as well as make the Costa Daurada an interesting destination all year long, and not just during the summer months. The Friends of Russia Foundation wants to promote Russian culture in Spain and to tighten relations between both countries.

Russian tourism grows in Catalonia

According to the Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig, Russian tourism will grow 40% in Catalonia this year. As an example, it is calculated that Russian visitors will increase by 30% on the Costa Brava, the northern coast of Catalonia. Tourists from other countries, like France or the United Kingdom, are stagnating, while Russian tourism has been growing due to the high purchasing power of these visitors.

In order to compete with other Spanish destinations, it will be necessary for hostelry employees to learn Russian, because people from the Eastern country are not likely to speak other languages: just 5% of Russians speak English. In addition, Russian tourists tend to have particular tastes and enjoy both cultural and gastronomic offers, which have to be properly promoted in order to attract them.

Apart from the visitor who stays in luxury hotels, there is another kind who is willing to buy apartments or to invest in the tourist Catalan field.

Last year one million Russians spent their holidays in Spain, and 600,000 stayed in Catalonia. Out of this 600,000, 70% chose the Costa Daurada, followed by the Costa Brava.

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  • Octavio A. Sanromá in Salou (by M. Cervelló Griso)

  • Octavio A. Sanromá in Salou (by M. Cervelló Griso)