Italian and German investment funds buy two Catalan Government buildings

December 20, 2013 08:42 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government put 4 buildings up for auction this Friday, following a plan to rationalise the spaces it uses, reduce spending and increase revenue in order to reduce public deficit. The headquarters of the Catalan Finance Ministry, located in a 8,000 square metre Art-Nouveau building in Barcelona’s Rambla Catalunya, has been bought by an Italian pharmaceutical company through FINAF 92 for €23.2 million. The other building, with a surface of 7,200 square metres, was used by the Catalan Police and is located in front of Barcelona’s Ciutadella Park. It has been bought by the German hotel company MO Düsseldorf Immermannstrasse GmbH & CO. KG for €14.1 million. On Thursday, the Catalan Government announced a plan to reduce its office space by 45% in the coming year by concentrating services. The plan includes selling the most attractive buildings.

Record attendance for the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

December 11, 2013 08:04 PM | ACN

Next February, the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world’s most important event in the mobile industry, will open its doors in Barcelona for the 9th consecutive year. The major companies in the sector will introduce new products or give conferences on applications designed for many innovative uses. By hosting the fair each year at least until 2018, Barcelona, named Mobile World Capital, is looking to become an international leader in this industry. The city has also created a HUB to develop the sector even further. The 2014 edition of the fair expects to break all records. The Director of the MWC, John Hoffman, stated that 75,000 visitors were expected, meaning 3,000 more than last year. Besides, once the fair will be over, it is estimated the local economy could have gained €340 million from it.

Agbar Tower to be transformed into a Grand Hyatt hotel

November 18, 2013 03:15 PM | ACN

Emin Capital will buy Barcelona’s Torre Agbar, designed by Jean Nouvel, for €150 million. North-American Hyatt will invest a further €35 million to transform the 145-metre-tall building into one of its grand luxe hotels. Grand Hyatt hotels – the US company’s luxury brand – tend to occupy iconic buildings in the world’s main business cities. The Agbar Tower has become one of the most emblematic buildings of the Catalan capital, with its blue and red lightening and bullet shape imitating a flame. Nouvel’s tower was unveiled in 2005 to host the main headquarters of the water distribution multinational Agbar. The Catalan multinational, which owns the 50,000-square-metre tower, will now look for another building in Barcelona to place the 700 people working in its central offices.

Foreign tourists spent €11.43 billion in Catalonia in the first 9 months of 2013, an 11.9% increase on last year

October 28, 2013 10:05 PM | ACN

International tourism keeps growing in Catalonia. The money that each international visitor spends in Catalonia increased by 4.9% in the first 9 months of 2013 and reached €905 per person on average. Furthermore, between January and September, foreigners visiting Catalonia spent 11.9% more than they did in the same period of 2012. According to data released by the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, Catalonia has been the main destination in Spain measured by total spending volume during the first 9 months of the year. It is followed by the Balearic Islands, which registered revenue of €9.59 billion (7.5% more than 2012 figures). Valencia (also called Valencian Country) was the fifth Autonomous Community, with €4.24 billion.

Investindustrial, which owns PortAventura theme park, joins ‘BCN World’ by building 3,000 hotel rooms

October 16, 2013 10:25 PM | ACN

The Italian investment group has announced it will build and manage 3,000 of the 6,000 hotel rooms of the ‘BCN World’ mega resort, the competitor to Madrid’s Eurovegas that is being developed by Veremonte in Salou (Costa Daurada). The $6 billion entertainment resort will be located next to the beach and the PortAventura theme park, which is owned by Investindustrial. After a year of talks, the Italian company has finally decided to join the mega resort project, which will have casinos, hotels, convention centres, luxury shops, restaurants, golf courses and a beach club. The CEO of ‘BCN World’, Xavier Adserà, confirmed that the resort will begin building in the first half of 2014, employing 17,000 people. The hotel group Melià, shopping-mall company Value Retail and casino group Melco Crown Entertainment will build the first phase.

Catalonia paves the road for 'BCN World' $6 billion resort by issuing the urban project and reducing casino taxes

June 14, 2013 01:26 AM | CNA

On Thursday, the Catalan Government published the new legal project for the area where ‘BCN World’ will be built, in order to modify the existing town-planning project and other rules. In addition, it will also modify the current taxes on gambling, dropping them from a maximum rate of 55% to 10%. The modification of such taxes was one of the changes the Catalan Government had promised international investors in order to develop the mega resort, which will see the construction of 6 casinos and hotels the size of those in Las Vegas. In addition, the resort will have golf courses, a beach club, a marina, a smart residential city area, shopping centres, theatres, conference centres and other attractions. Two weeks ago, the first three international investors participating in the project were announced. Plans are to start construction of the first casino in September.

Barcelona is the fourth European city with the most tourists after London, Paris and Rome

April 12, 2013 01:16 AM | CNA

The number of tourists in Barcelona hotels grew by 0.7% in 2012 compared to the previous year. In total, Barcelona hosted 7.44 million tourists in the city’s hotels. A study by the Barcelona Tourism board revealed that the significant increase in foreign tourists compensated for the 6.8% drop in Spanish visitors. The number of tourists from Russia and Eastern Europe increased by 32%, those from the United Kingdom grew by 12%, those from the United States grew by 4.7% and those from Germany increased by 4.3%. Spanish visitors continue to be the largest group of guests to Barcelona hotels, with 1.62 million people. to open a customer support centre that will create 250 new jobs in Barcelona

March 20, 2013 04:31 PM | CNA / Carlota Guerra is a Dutch hotel and accommodation booking company. Leader in its sector, it has decided to open in Barcelona one of its 5 customer support centres worldwide. In the context of the current economic crisis, the arrival of the company in the Catalan capital is positive because has announced that the opening will create 250 jobs. Catalan Business Minister Felip Puig emphasised that the decision of the Dutch company proves that “Barcelona and Catalonia are attracting poles”.

Girona offers ten-euro hotel rooms and restaurant menus this weekend for the second year in a row

January 24, 2013 08:36 PM | CNA / Tania Tapia / Carla Marchesi

On the 26th and 27th of January, Girona celebrates the second edition of #Girona10. This low-cost tourist event consists of offering hotel rooms and restaurant menus for €10 in and around the city. It was created last January in order to promote this northeast Catalan city and is aimed at both local and foreign tourism. The 2012 #Girona10 project was hugely successful, and the website where people could register quickly collapsed. This fact has led the organisers to think about a new hotel room distribution model, based on a lottery. Also due to last January’s success, this year the campaign offers 40% more hotel spots and 25% more menus than last year, while other institutions and activities have been added to the event providing new services.

Catalonia’s tourist fee begins without a problem

November 2, 2012 11:03 PM | CNA

During the first few hours of the implementation of the tourist tax, no problems were detected. The fee ranges from 50 cents to 2.5 euros per hotel per night depending on the accommodation category and zone, with a maximum of seven nights per person. Children under 17 and tourists from social programmes are exempt from paying the fee. Clients have not complained and most of them say that they understand the need. Hotel owners have adapted their software to include the tax payment, although they complain that they have to pay for this change. This type of fee is common in countries such as the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Morocco, Egypt and Japan. The Catalan Government expects the tax to raise €50 million, to be used for the promotion of tourism.

The Catalan coast reached almost full hotel occupancy in August

August 31, 2012 11:18 PM | CNA

The increase of tourism from Russia contrasts with last minute bookings and the drop of the average spending. Hotels on the Central Catalan coast had a 95% occupation rate in August, the same as those on the Costa Daurada. Hotels on the Costa Brava had a 90% occupation rate. The increase of foreign tourism compensated for the drop of local visitors. Camping sites and rural cottages had a bad season, since they are more dependant on local tourism.