Tourism rules

Tourism is what makes the world go round - or at least what makes us go round the world - and even the most virtual of virtual technologies is not going to stop millions of people packing their cases for a welcome change of scenery.

We've now hit the peak season on the Costa del Sol and much of the news coming through is related to the huge industry that keeps the wheels of southern Spain turning.

Tourism is a word that almost types itself in the SUR newsroom, and could rightly plead to be given a rest, but I wonder how many people reading this now would be doing so if the Costa del Sol were not such an attractive place to spend time in. For that matter, if people from other countries didn't like visiting, and living, in this area, then these pages and these words would certainly not exist.

We owe the industry a lot and the least we can do is keep up-to-date. So what's new this week?

Recent figures show that the increase in the numbers of British tourists on the Costa del Sol is slowing down and the latest rise in passengers using Malaga airport is not as steep as in previous years.

While we're analysing that, we also read that there is a certain type of holidaymaker that this area really doesn't want to attract anyway. They've never been popular with residents and authorities, but now the industry and local councils are very open about it: "wild" hen and stag parties, drunken louts, and company, are not welcome.

Marbella council hopes that its new behaviour rules and fines for breaking them will help patch up any fissures in its good reputation caused by undesirables.

However the fact that it has to tell people in writing not to urinate in the street or walk around half-dressed with inflatable dolls on their shoulders is in itself discouraging.

It will be interesting to see how the new rules work when they come into force. Experience in the city of Granada suggests that strict enforcement of regulations against antisocial behaviour can clean up a town centre.

Maybe another solution would be to tell people that married life is really not that oppressive and there's really no need to have one last mad fling before tying the knot.