Spotlight on Costa del Sol international businesses during SUR in English awards ceremony

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Business Awards

BENALMÁDENA – To emphasise successful international businesses on the Costa del Sol, the newspaper SUR in English organised the presentation of the Top International Business Guide and Awards for the second time. The event was held at an iconic location right on the sea in Benalmádena.

Among the more than a hundred guests were the British ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, and the mayor of Benalmádena, Juan Antonio Lara Martín. In 1984, the English-language newspaper was founded as a supplement to the existing Spanish newspaper Diario SUR. The aim was to provide the growing English-speaking community on the Costa del Sol with news and information in their own language. The initiators wanted to better inform tourists and British expats on the coast about local events, news and developments in Spain. That there was and is a great need for this is evident from the fact that the newspaper is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

“Proud of these 40 years”

In his welcome speech, delivered entirely in English as promised last year, Manolo Castillo, editor-in-chief of the SUR Group (also publisher of SUR Deutsche Ausgabe), recalled the early years of SUR in English and thanked the team for their efforts. “Today is a very special day. It is the 40th anniversary of the first English-language newspaper on the Costa del Sol. We are very proud of these 40 years,” he said.

Sponsor of the event

Then it was the turn of CaixaBank, the event’s sponsor, to take the stage. The bank was represented by Gerardo Cuartero, sales director of CaixaBank in southern Spain. He thanked, also in English, SUR in English, the ambassador and the mayor of Benalmádena. Cuartero further emphasised the importance of the foreign business community on the Costa del Sol. He also pointed out that his bank is doing everything it can to accommodate the foreign community in Spain, including a multilingual website and internet banking in more than 20 languages.

The large British community on the coast

Ambassador Hugh Elliott emphasised the special relationship between the UK and the province of Málaga. He mentioned that more than 2.6 million Brits visited the region last year, spending €42 billion. In addition, 120,000 British residents live in the area. “We have an extraordinary British community here contributing to convivencia,” Elliott said. According to him, this is reflected in the fact that more than 80% of British investments go to Andalucia.

Cogesa Expats

Hugh Elliot

In beautiful Spanglish, the mayor of Benalmádena, Juan Antonio Lara Martín, then expressed his thanks to the international companies and entrepreneurs who have invested in the Costa del Sol. He congratulated the winners and, like his predecessors, emphasised the importance of foreign business to the region.

Winners of the International Business Awards

Helicopteros Sanitarios

After all the praise for the international business climate on the Costa del Sol and the beautiful Holiday World Beach Club location, it was time for the presentation of the two International Business Awards. The first went to Helicópteros Sanitarios, which provides emergency care and ambulance services along the coast. This company was founded in 1988 by María José Cañete, then only 23 years old, in response to the high death rates along the N-340 road between Sotogrande and Málaga. More than 38% of people who needed emergency medical attention died there before reaching the hospital. In those years, there was no public or private service that could transport patients quickly and safely from the various towns along the Costa del Sol to the main hospitals in Malaga.

Imaculada Lanzas, sales manager at Helicópteros Sanitarios, received the award from Gerardo Cuartero of CaixaBank. The company currently has a hospital in Puerto Banús and two clinics in Manilva and Fuengirola.

Check-in scan

check-in scanThe second prize of the evening went to an innovative start-up Check-in Scan offers a system for direct legal guest registration for holiday rentals, hotels and other short-term accommodation. Operators can automatically send their guest registrations to the police to comply with legal requirements. The company currently serves 25,000 properties in Spain, Portugal and Italy, among others. Furthermore it expects to handle 3.5 million guests this year. Founder Ben Smith accepted the award.

Future of the Guide

The SUR in English will publish the Top International Business Guide on May 31 in the newspaper and online. It provides a comprehensive overview of professional services for the international community in southern Spain. The guide is a useful reference for those looking for advice in finance, healthcare, education, real estate and technology.


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