vall d'aran

Catalonia approves special status for Occitan Val d’Aran, including its right to self-determination

January 21, 2015 09:09 PM | ACN

The Catalan Parliament approved on Wednesday the Law on the Val d’Aran’s special status within Catalonia, recognising its “Occitan national reality” and its right to self-determination. This small Pyrenean valley, surrounded by high peaks and located in Catalonia’s north-western corner, is the last land where the Occitan language is widely spoken, although it is called Aranese there. The Val d’Aran County has had a certain degree of self-rule within Catalonia since 1990, further recognised with the Catalan Statute of Autonomy from 2006. In addition, since September 2010, Aranese is Catalonia’s third official language, being the preferred language in this county. The law approved this Wednesday develops and consolidates the Val d’Aran’s special regime, with its own powers of self-rule and structures. In order to enter into force, it will have to be approved through referendum by the less than 11,000 inhabitants of the valley.


Ski resorts open this weekend in Catalonia, but at "half gas" because of snow conditions

December 5, 2014 09:34 PM | ACN

Ski and snow lovers across Catalonia will be able to hit the slopes this weekend for the first time this season, but not all the doors to powder will be open, due to weather conditions. The unseasonably mild winter has meant that most ski resorts will be operating at "half gas" this weekend, with some important resorts such as Baqueria Beret choosing not to open at all. Others, such as Boí Taüll have said they will open on Saturday but only at 50%, and the first ski resort to open its doors has been Vallter 2000, which was operational as from this Friday with 4 lifts and 4 runs. Other resorts expect to open some of their runs, but the final decision will depend on weather conditions in the near future. During the 2014-2015 season, Catalan ski resorts invested a total of €17 million. Baqueria Beret invested the most, over €11 million, due to its size and to commemorate its 50th anniversary.

Catalonia promotes itself in World Travel Market in London, boosting links with UK

November 3, 2014 08:08 PM | ACN

On Monday, the 'World Travel Market' (WTM) opened in London and Catalonia is participating with a 300 m2 exhibition stand promoting a variety of its tourist destinations and highlighting its uniqueness with areas as diverse as the city of Barcelona, the Costa Brava and the Penedès wine region. The WTM is highly important in the tourism and travel industry, and represents a crucial opportunity for business networking and attractive investment. Catalonia’s participation strengthens its growing importance as a holiday destination for British tourists, who have increased by 4% and represent revenue of €1 billion in the first 10 months of 2014, the second largest after the French. Through the event, Catalan companies will mix with 5,000 other organizations from 200 countries, with an estimated 50,000 professionals from the industry participating.

Highest-ever Catalan language skills for people living in Catalonia

November 25, 2013 08:06 PM | ACN

The language skills of Catalonia’s population to understand, read, speak and write in Catalan have reached record highs, according to a report from the Statistical Institute of Catalonia (Idescat) with data from 2011. That year, 95.2 % of the residents could understand Catalan, 79.1 % could read it, 73.2 % knew how to speak it, and 55.8 % knew how to write in this language. According to the Idescat figures, the foreign nationality population has registered the highest increases: 82.1 % of them stated they could understand Catalan in the 2011 survey, whereas, according to the previous census from 2001, only 61.1% of the foreign-born population had good language comprehension skills.

Floods disappear in the Catalan Pyrenees but leave significant material damage and supply cuts

June 20, 2013 12:43 AM | CNA

Many of the 300 people evacuated in the Val d’Aran County will have to spend a second night out of their homes to rule out any risk. The task of verifying that houses do not have structural damage is slow and the people’s return will be gradual, starting on Thursday. After rivers in the Western Catalan Pyrenees overflowed on Tuesday, by Wednesday water levels had considerably lowered showing the damage created by the floods. Three bridges had been destroyed and some road stretches had collapsed since the ground beneath them was swept away by the water. In addition, many houses and shops had been flooded. Water supply has been interrupted in some areas since some pipes broke. Partial power and gas supply interruptions also occurred but the service was almost entirely restored by Wednesday evening.

Severe floods in the north-western Catalan Pyrenees

June 19, 2013 12:44 AM | CNA

The ice melting from the mountain tops and the heavy rain episodes of the last 24 hours have caused flooding of the Garonne, Noguera Pallaresa, Noguera de Cardós and other rivers in the mountain counties of the Val d’Aran, Pallars Sobirà, Alta Ribagorça and north of Pallars Jussà. More than 300 people have been evacuated from their homes in flooded or at risk areas. No victims or missing people have been reported, but material damage is considerable. Bridges have been swallowed by the waters and some roads have partially collapsed since the land beneath them has been swept away by the flood. Road access to the Val d’Aran County was closed as a precaution. Rain is expected to continue during the night and the reservoirs are overflowing because they have reached their maximum capacity.

The number of extreme sport companies in the Lleida Pyrenees increases by 20%

March 25, 2013 10:18 PM | CNA / Marta Lluvich

The Pyrenees of Lleida are one of the main areas in Catalonia for adventure sports and the season officially kicks off this week, once the snow sports are about to end their season. Now begins the time for rafting, canyoning, horse-riding excursions, paragliding, mountain bike rides and hiking, which are among the most popular sports. In the last year, the number of companies working within these activities in the Province of Lleida has increased by 20%, reaching more than 200 enterprises. The sector has set the objective of reaching 625,000 services in 2013, similar to that of the last few years. However, they are concerned that the economic crisis and the VAT increase imposed by the Spanish Government might reduce the number of clients.

Ski resorts in the Catalan Pyrenees to begin opening their slopes next weekend

November 27, 2012 10:33 PM | CNA

The first slopes ready for skiers and snow-boarders will be opened on December the 1st in the north-western corner of Catalonia. The rest of the resorts plan to kick off the season on the bank holiday of December the 6th. This season some new things will be on offer. Port del Comte will have the first snowpark in Catalonia to be open at night. Espot, Port Ainé and Tavascan will offer ‘gas cheques’ to fund part of the car trip up. Additionally, a single ticket will work for skiing in these 3 resorts as well as in Vallter 2000, La Molina and Vall de Núria. Baqueira Beret has invested €2.2 million in improving the venues. Overall, business owners are optimistic about the coming season.

Ski resorts and holiday cottages in Catalonia experience a quiet Christmas season

January 9, 2012 10:57 PM | CNA

Hoteliers around Catalonia faced a difficult Christmas tourist season with occupancy rates that were below 50% in some areas. The only exceptions could be found in areas where snow attracted skiers, such as Val d’Aran and adjacent counties. In those areas there was an occupancy rate of between 70% and 85%. Rural tourism suffered its poorest results and does not forecast a recovery for 2012.

The Spanish Government argues once again against language diversity

September 19, 2011 11:47 PM | CNA

The Spanish Constitutional Court has accepted to make a decision on the Spanish Government’s appeal against the Catalan law promoting the Occitan language in the Val d’Aran County, in the Pyrenees. The Val d’Aran has autonomy status within Catalonia, considering its historic links with the Occitan culture. It is the only place where Occitan has the status of preferred co-official language. Now, this status has been cancelled because of the Spanish Government’s appeal. The Catalan Minister for Culture considers the appeal “an attack against language diversity”.