ANDALUCIA – Since 2016, there has been a plan on the table to build a luxury hotel in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park. Initially, the plan was rejected by the then regional government of Andalucia, but the current government has now approved it.
The regional Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development has given permission to transform the farm that is now on the intended plot of land into a tourist destination. The new hotel to be built is located near the beach of Los Genoveses, will have 30 rooms. It will also have a restaurant, several swimming pools and a parking lot with space for 70 cars.
Mass tourism in vulnerable nature reserve
Cabo de Gata Natural Park is one of the best preserved natural areas in Andalucia. The construction of the hotel is, therefore, a thorn in the side for various environmental organisations, including Greenpeace. Together they have already collected almost 250,000 signatures on the Change.org platform. This is in protest against the four-star hotel they believe will bring mass tourism to a vulnerable protected natural park.
The regional government of Andalucia has given the green light. Therefore, the procedure is now in the hands of the municipality of Níjar. He has until January 22 to comment positively or negatively on the plan. The municipality must also give permission to declare the project a ‘public interest’. This was a condition of the regional government when approving the plan.
So it seems that it is now up to the municipality to make the decision. But according to mayor Esperanza Pérez, things are different. According to her own words, she has little choice because it has already been made by the regional government. The farm that will be renovated is not located on municipal land. The regional council in turn accuses the mayor of repeatedly citing this in order not to be the culprit in the story.
Donana . Natural Park
The Andalucian government’s left-wing opposition reacted indignantly to the approval for the construction of the hotel in Cabo de Gata. This is already the umpteenth decision that goes against the protection of important natural areas in the region. Recently, a bill was introduced to legalize 1,500 hectares of the Doñana Natural Park in favor of the nature-destroying strawberry cultivation. A project has also been restarted for the construction of a large-scale urbanization with a golf course in Barbate, in the province of Cádiz.
Once the final approval for the hotel’s construction has been received, the project should start within five years. There are, however, a number of requirements. For example, the appearance of the structure must fit in with the natural environment and there must be proper waste processing and infrastructure, there must be no noise or light nuisance and co-2 emissions must be limited.
The project will cover an area of almost 27,000 square metres. Solar panels will be installed on 950 square meters for the electricity supply and the hotel will have its own water purification system for recycling the drinking water.