Antonio García Zorrilla, Councillor for Sport; José Miguel García, Deputy Mayor; Liz Parry, Consultant Editor of SUR in English; Bernardo Pozuelo, Councillor for Tourism; Inocencia Quintero, Councillor for Foreign Residents, and Gema García, Councillor for Culture. :: SUR
Nerja’s central square, the Plaza de España, just a few yards from the more famous Balcón de Europa, hosted its own United Nations event recently.
It was the 15th Día del Residente or Residents’ Day in the popular coastal resort which has one of the largest multicultural communities in Malaga.
Almost one in three locals in the Axarquía town (7,500 out of 22,300 inhabitants) is of foreign origin and a large majority of these - 43 per cent - are from the UK.
“It is a fabulous fiesta. We haven’t missed a year,” said Dorothy Allan, a 70-year-old Brit who is a member of the Royal British Legion, along with her husband David.
The RBL was just one of 43 groups with stands at the residents’ day. These included businesses, associations and charities such as CAS (Costa Animal Society), the Donkey Sanctuary, the Lions’ Club, the International Club, the Taller de la Amistad (which works with people with learning difficulties), representations from the communities of Argentina and Ecuador and sports and social clubs such as El Club de Bolos Almijara (a local bowls club).
SUR in English and its sister publications, SUR Deutsche and SUR Ha PycckoM, shared a busy stand at the event where visitors of a range of nationalities were able to chat to representatives and sign up for some of the special offers available through the discount portal Oferplan.
Musical performances from 15 different groups and bars serving refreshments helped make the sunny day a convivial and entertaining occasion.
The person chiefly responsible for organising the event was Jacky Gómez, from Nerja town hall’s foreign residents’ department. She pointed out that in recent years, the communities that have grown the most are from Sweden and Norway, while the number of British and German residents has also risen.
In terms of groups where numbers have fallen recently, the Argentinian community has dropped from 500 to 300 Nerja residents. Many have returned to Argentina because of the economic crisis.
Drawing attention to the latest figures, which reveal that there are 90 nationalities among the 7,500 foreign residents in Nerja, Gómez said, “It’s clear that these citizens are our best ambassadors in terms of residential tourism because they spread the word among people in their countries of origin who are deciding where to retire to.”
Gómez stressed, once again, the importance of registering at the town hall. “We are making a special effort, because the more people registered the more funds we receive”.