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Busy Levante beach yesterday afternoon
How many of you were aware that the Coastal Act of 1988 prohibits any advertising on the beach or promenade along the front? It only came to my attention on hearing that a debate has opened up on the matter at Benidorm Town Hall. The Liberals and PSOE want to change the law to allow advertising on the beaches - but the PP are against such a proposal. It has also created conflicting opinions among the leading spokesmen for the local tourism industry.
The measure according to the PSOE would be a major economic boost not only to Benidorm but for other Spanish coastal towns and could open up a new source of income for cash strapped councils. However, a change in law would need to come from the Central Government in Madrid - meaning a debate in Parliment. The Spanish President Rajoy is passing many new laws to try and alleviate the dire economic situation , so perhaps this would be passed without too much objection.

Blue zone hire area 
The change in law proposes advertising to be allowed on council owned umbrellas, sunbeds, bins and street furniture such as benches along the promenade. Currently all of the sunbeds and umbrellas which are available to hire, at 4€ per item per day, are standard blue - these are all council owned.

You will notice "blue sections" at intervals where all the bed are lined up and it is these that are under review. Most of the foreign holiday makers hire these but domestic tourists tend to bring their own -  usually this is where you see an array of stripy multi-coloured umbrellas. This is especially true of those that drive down to Benidorm from the cities such as Madrid . Obviously its a little harder to bring an umbrella and sunbed on a Ryanair flight - but those that are here for 2 weeks or longer do tend to buy their own from the many Chinese shops in the town as in the long run it works out cheaper. The only disadvantage is that you have to carry them back and forth every day ... but when you are looking after the pennies it all helps and you don't mind a bit of inconvenience.

Who knows what will be on it next year
Back in March of this year the Town Hall were issued with a order for the immediate withdrawal of advertising which appeared on the bins along the beach front. The adverts for Terra Mitica and Mundomar were quickly removed as this broke the Costal Act.  It seems strange to me that bars and cafes along the front can have chairs and umbrellas with logos for various companies such as Coca Cola and San Miguel, which are perfectly visible to all those on the beach yet it is prohibited to have them on the sand.

The deputy Mayor, Manuel Perez Fenoll  who is against such a proposal said it would be "very sad" to see the beautiful beach divided up into areas such as the "Laughing Cow" zone or the "Revilla Chorizo" zone - it would spoil the aesthetics of the area. The problem as far as I can see, would be that it could only be afforded by the big multi national companies that have the funding to sponsor such advertising - companies such as Terra Mitica, Servigroup hotel chain etc. Small local businesses would not be able to compete so would not reap the benefits.

Gema Amor, opposition leader said it would be important to introduce a "series of aesthetic standards" so as not to jeopardize the image of the beach as a result of uncontrolled advertising content, but these guarantees were still not sufficient for the PP. Antonio Perez said the move "opens the door to barbarism" - next there would be giant billboards in the sand and accoustic announcements of a PA system. The beaches would be littered with brands for yogurts, theme parks, intimate apparel (underwear in case you are wondering) and ruin the landscape.

Firstly we will have to wait and see if it is passed through government then the discussions will begin as to which companies to allow to ... to me it is fairly obvious, whoever has more money to offer!

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