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Concerns in tourism industry due to Storm Gloria damage

Sector urges authorities to take "quick" action and government says it will prioritize affected areas when giving tourism-related funding

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25 January 2020 10:34 AM

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ACN | Barcelona

The Catalan tourism industry has expressed concerns over the perspectives of the 2020 season, which will start in few months, due to the effects of Storm Gloria, especially harsh on the coast.

Tarragona's federation of hotel and tourism businesses (FEHT) urged authorities to take "quick" action on Friday in order to repair the damage caused by the rough weather.

Its spokesperson, Xavier Guàrdia, told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that he hopes all administrations, including local, Catalan and Spanish ones, will "spend budget and efforts" so that everything is ready for Easter, when typically the season is considered open. Easter week falls in the second week of April this year, that is, in two and a half months.

Ebre region and delta

The Ebre river region and especially its delta is a place that especially worries the sector. "It is a very important tourist destination for us," he says.

Due to the Storm Gloria, a large section of the delta was flooded, leading to serious damage to rice fields and its rich ecosystem.

Maresme area and southern Costa Brava

The exceptionally bad weather conditions also affected Barcelona's coast and the beaches and coastal towns north of the capital, in both the Maresme county and especially the southern part of the Costa Brava.

The mayors of the northern part of Maresme – which includes Sant Pol de Mar, Calella, Pineda de Mar, Santa Susanna and Malgrat de Mar – asked for "diligence" to administrations.

"The level of disaster is very high," they say. The beaches are full of logs, canes, stones, and the sea has swallowed part of the sand. A campsite area in Malgrat de Mar has been seriously damaged, with the water swallowing the road, a parking lot and some furniture, and some electricity pylons are down.

In towns like Pineda de Mar and Calella, the beaches and the maritime promenades are not in good condition, but round-the-clock works have started to repair the damage. "It is only 70 days left [for the beginning of the tourism season] and we know the promenade won't look as we would like to, but we will do our best so that people see that we have made a great effort to make it look decent," said Xavier Amor, the mayor of Pineda.

'Disaster area' in Barcelona and elsewhere

Some of these towns – which have already begun repairing some areas – are considering requesting to be declared a disaster area by the Spanish government. Barcelona has already announced that it will request so for its coast.

The European Union activated the Copernicus satellite to assess the damage of Storm Gloria in Catalonia. 

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  • Image of the damage in a campsite in Malgrat de Mar, north of Barcelona (by Norma Vidal)

  • Image of the damage in a campsite in Malgrat de Mar, north of Barcelona (by Norma Vidal)

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