Our roving reporter Alan S has been a bit quiet recently. That changed earlier today. He sent me a link to this article I saw when it was published, then forgot to write about it on here. So ta to Alan for reminding me.

Read More for a Google translation of the article.

The 7 Almeria municipalities declared as areas of great tourist influx

Being ZGAT facilitates greater freedom of business hours in the summer season

The commercial SMEs of the capital of Almería, the ejido centers of Almerimar, Balerma and Guardias Viejas, and the municipalities of Carboneras, Garrucha, Mojácar, Roquetas de Mar and Vera have greater freedom to determine opening days and hours in the summer period - from June 1 to September 30- thanks to being declared as Areas of Great Tourist Influx (ZGAT) by the Andalusian Council of Commerce, in which the Junta de Andalucía, the main representative business associations of the commercial sector, unions and consumers, the municipalities and provinces of Andalusia and the entire cameral network.

These municipalities and neighborhoods are declared as ZGAT also for Holy Week (from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday). Likewise, the historic center and eastern area of ​​El Ejido has this declaration during the celebration of its International Theater Festival, which is usually held between May and June.

The declaration as ZGAT favors greater competitiveness for trade and tourism in the municipalities and urban centers that hold it, strengthening small businesses, facilitating job creation and offering better services to residents and visitors. In this way, it responds to the increase in population that occurs in these areas during the summer and Easter, which allows small businesses greater time freedom in these periods.

In 2021, the Junta de Andalucía introduced novelties in the regulation of ZGAT declarations through the Decree Law for the Improvement and Simplification of Economic Regulation. The new regulations contemplate, among other aspects, the indefinite nature of the declaration of this instrument, provided that the requirements are maintained, thus eliminating the processing of a new procedure every four years. Likewise, it simplifies the procedure associated with this figure, so that local entities no longer have to carry out procedures that were duplicated in the previous legislative framework.

The necessary requirements to obtain the declaration of a Large Tourist Influx Zone are set out in article 2 of Decree 2/2014 of January 14, modified by Decree-Law 2/2020, of March 9. These include having a sufficient concentration, quantitatively or qualitatively, of places in tourist accommodation and establishments or in the number of second homes with respect to those that are habitual residence, with three possible cases: that the annual average number of overnight stays in tourist establishments exceed 5% of residents of the municipality, in those with more than 100,000 inhabitants; that there are more second homes than habitual residences, provided that these are more than 500; or that the municipality has already been previously declared as tourist.

Other requirements are to have been declared a World Heritage Site or to contain one or more real estate assets of cultural interest integrated into the historical-artistic heritage; host the celebration of a major sporting or cultural event, of a regional, state or international nature, classified as such by the sporting or cultural authorities; be in the proximity of port areas where tourist cruises operate and that register a significant influx of visitors, having received more than 300,000 passengers in the previous year, according to statistical information from official sources; or constitute an area whose main attraction is shopping tourism.

In addition, when there are special circumstances that justify it, the municipalities can request the ZGAT declaration, objectively accrediting their proposal and providing a report from the competent Ministry on the basis of the matter affected by the alleged special circumstances.

In May of this year, the city of Roquetas de Mar lost the status of 'Tourist Municipality of Andalusia', having exceeded 100,000 inhabitants, rendering the ZGAT declaration that it had since 2020 null and void. In order not to harm commercial and tourist interests and the consumers of Roquetas de Mar, the Junta de Andalucía also recognized in May a new Area of ​​Great Tourist Influx for this municipality, indefinitely as long as the circumstances continue, based on this occasion on two demands that entail its ex officio declaration , as stated in the regulations: exceed 100,000 inhabitants and have more than 600,000 overnight stays in tourist accommodation in the period between 2017 and 2019.

The new ZGAT maintains the same characteristics as the one previously in force, in such a way that it extends to the entire municipal term and will be applied during Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, both included; and in summer, which includes between June 1 and September 30. According to INE data on travelers and overnight stays, a greater tourist influx was recorded in both periods, both national residents and foreign visitors.

The Carboneras City Council requested this year, after the validity of the ZGAT declaration that it had held since 2017, the renewal of this recognition including the extension of this figure to the entire municipal term, which is applied, in addition to the summer period, during Holy Week, indefinitely as long as the circumstances that justify it continue to exist. On both dates there is a greater influx of tourists, according to overnight stay data published by the INE and relating to the Costa de Almería, which includes Carboneras; and according to the municipal solid waste information.

In Mojácar, the ZGAT declaration, renewed in March of this year, extends to the entire municipality and is applied indefinitely in the summer period as long as the circumstances that gave rise to said declaration continue. In addition, from 2023 it will also apply during Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday, both included. The granting of this figure is justified because on both dates there is a greater influx of tourists, according to the visitor data recorded at the Mojácar Tourist Office.

The Garrucha ZGAT declaration approved in February 2022 affects the entire municipality and is applied during Holy Week and in the summer period, also indefinitely, applying the new regulations introduced by the Decree Law for the Improvement and Simplification of Regulation Economic. The granting of this figure is justified by the scarcity of small businesses with freedom of business hours existing in the municipality and by the notable increase in population that occurs in these two periods, when the number of inhabitants triples. Similarly, it was taken into consideration that Garrucha is located in the Levante coastal area of ​​Almeria, bordering two other highly touristic municipalities such as Vera and Mojácar.

The municipality of El Ejido has a declaration of Area of ​​Great Tourist Influx renewed in February 2021 and valid indefinitely; It was the first municipality in Almería to receive the qualification in accordance with the novelties introduced by the Decree Law for the Improvement and Simplification of Economic Regulation. This declaration is applied according to two different criteria: on the one hand, it is limited to the coastal area of ​​Almerimar and Balerma for the Easter and summer periods; and on the other, it includes the entire municipality for the dates on which the local Theater Festival takes place, which is usually held between mid-May and June.

Vera and Almería capital have the declarations approved in 2017 for Easter and summer in force until this year 2022. In the first case, the regulations indicate that the Veratense city council has to request the renewal, a requirement of which has already been informed by the Territorial Delegation. In the case of Almería, if the consistory does not request it before, the renewal will begin ex officio and at the request of the Territorial Delegation from October.