Ronda tourism gets accessibility, and a film festival

Ronda was recently represented at an international travel exposition, la Feria Internacional de Turismo (Fitur) in Madrid by the mayor Antonio Marín Lara and councillor for tourism Maribel Morales along with Alfredo Carrasco of CIT, and a small group of officials from the office of tourism and local business people.

Invited to participate by the Costa del Sol Tourism Board, Ronda representated the entire Serranía, including local villages such as Benaojan, Gaucín, Setenil, Grazalema, and displayed information about the three natural parks surrounding the Serranía.

The Serranía de Ronda is often under-represented within the travel industry, and is considered by many travel operators to be an inland Costa del Sol daytrip, a mindset the official tourism offices in Ronda are keen to dispel.

Major projects announced at this years Fitur were the accessibility of Ronda program, and further strengthening of the twinning relationship with the city of Cuenca in Castilla-La Mancha.

Over the next few months significants parts of the main tourist walk in Ronda, including streets in the old town, will be upgraded to make it convenient for people with limited mobility to enjoy the sites of Ronda. Unfortunately the cost and difficulty of making monuments such as the Mondragon Palace accessible isn’t possible.

However Ronda Today has learned the Arab Baths will soon be accessible to people in wheelchairs, a major step forward (pardon the pun) given the significance of Ronda’s Arab Baths in Western Europe. As well, the historically important Acinipo ruined city will soon also be more accessible to people of limited mobility.

Ronda’s twinning with Cuenca is to receive a major boost under an EU program. 300,000€ of European money has been allocated to encourage closer working between Ronda and Cuenca which both share a similar topology with an older city, gorge, and hanging houses.

Expertise in attracting tourists to Ronda will be studied by officials from Cuenca, a program Ronda tourism hopes they will be able to export to other cities.

At Fitur, Ronda’s mayor Marín Lara also announced the creation of a new film festival, the political film festival of Ronda, to be held annually in the city and will be a grade two festival, equivalent to the Berlin Film Festival.

This marks a significant development in the media industry in Ronda, which is also home to the Business Media School. Ronda’s political film festival in 2010 is scheduled to run from 27th November to 4th December, and has the financial backing of the Ministry of Culture in Madrid.

Military Barracks in Ronda to be Demolished

Yesterday at 12:30 the first stage of the demolition of the old military barracks in the centre of Ronda began, with Ronda’s mayor Antonio Marín Lara looking on.

Known as the Cuartel de la Concepción, the barracks comprise an entire city nlock, bounded by Calle Chica, Calle Lauría, Calle San José, and Calle Naranja. The barracks are diagonally opposite Ronda’s bus station.

Recently the Ronda town council agreed to buy the dilapidated barracks from the Ministry of Defence for the sum of 3.6million Euros to be paid over a number of years. Since it’s abandonment several years ago the barracks have been over run by rats and mice, and parts of the building are now starting to collapse.

The heavy rains in December and January caused severe damage to the roof of the building adjacent to Calle Chica, and after roof tiles and chunks of concrete started to fall, a decision to bring forward the demolition was made.

Coincidentally, the headquarters of the PSOE is in Calle Chica and is one of the neighbours adversely affected by the possible collapse of the barracks building. Ronda’s Partido Popular (PP) have suggested the imminent collapse is a cynical excuse offered by the mayor to pacify the PSOE party faithful.

Demolition is likely to be completed in three months and will cost 600,000€, of which around 50% will be spent removing asbestos roofing, which under Spanish law must be removed by trained professionals and disposed of in a prescribed manner to avoid asbestos dust escaping.

Initially the interior of the building will be demolished by heavy machinery, and the waste used to build ramps so that the higher external walls can be pulled inwards without risk of falling on the street or neighbouring properties.

After demolition is complete, a parking space for upto 200 cars will be created, and the decision of what to do with the space left until after the next Ronda municipal elections. The PSOE favour building an underground carpark for 600 vehicles, and a new town hall above ground. The opposition suggest this isn’t needed and the space could be sold to generate income for the city.

Ronda Today was invited to attend the pre-demolition tour with Marín Lara, our photos are below.

Isabel Barriga to Lead PA for Mayor’s Job

Yesterday the Partido Andalucista (PA) voted to confirm Isabel Barriga as their candidate for mayor in the next municipal elections. Daniel Harillo was voted number two.

The PA is attempting to rebuild the party throughout Andalucía after a series of defections caused by internal fighting, the most serious being the abandonment of the party by Ronda’s mayor Antonio Marín Lara and eight former PA councillors. Continue reading Isabel Barriga to Lead PA for Mayor’s Job

Barrio San Francisco to get new park

Calle Torrejones in the Barrio San Francisco near the Predicatorio Roman ruins are to receive a 200,000€ makeover including a new retaining wall below the ruins, new seating area and landscaping.

Visitors entering from the Algeciras road often comment on this eyesore. Funding is being sourced from the second installment of Plan Zapatero, the local state investment plan.

Ronda’s councillor for Parks and Gardens Josefa Valle said today it was important to balance the beautification of Ronda between suburban parks for residents, and those that are located on entry roads where tourists are likely to see them.

Rondeño David del Rio selected for Spanish tennis team

A young Rondeño, David del Rio has been selected to represent Spain in the under 16 team. David’s first competition games will be at the Winter Cup in Udine, Italy. He joins two other contemporaries from the National Junior team Carlos Bautista and Nacho Gonzalez in the under 16 grade as they compete to reach the Winter Cup finals in Ronchin France, to be held from the 19th to 21st February 2010.

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