File photograph. / KARL SMALLMAN

Nerja cave foundation announces improvements and return of music and dance festival

The tourist attraction is confident of recovering pre-pandemic visitor levels and is designing the event programme for the second half of July

Eugenio Cabezas
EUGENIO CABEZAS

The board of the Nerja cave, which is made up of representatives from the central government, Junta de Andalucía, Diputación and Nerja town hall, has unanimously approved the 2022 budget, which has increased by 20.5 per cent compared to 2021.

The cave, which has been hit hard by the pandemic as its only income comes from ticket sales, is confident of a recovery in visitors to pre-Covid-19 levels, when it reached 441,590 in 2019. The year 2021 was a key year in the recovery of visitors with almost double the number of tourists compared to the previous year, some 289,349 compared to 149,271 in 2020. Thanks to these figures, the early repayment of the ICO loan of 600,000 euros to Unicaja will be made this April.

The board, which met on Tuesday, announced that this year the 61st International Festival of Music and Dance Cueva de Nerja, which will be held in the outdoor gardens, will return after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic in the second half of July. In addition, the budget for the general conservation project has been increased to 435,180 euros.

The Nerja cave foundation board meeting took place on Tuesday

The Foundation has announced that it is beginning "the design, development and implementation of the sustainable development management system in accordance with the 2030 Agenda, in a framework that will allow us to become one of the public entities adhering to the firm commitment to sustainability in Europe.”

Investment

The Foundation has also announced the adaptation of the Manuel del Campo auditorium with an allocation of 48,000 euros. It will be located in the grounds of the Cave and will host the International Music Festival and other possible events, as since 2019 the festival has taken place in the gardens "for conservation reasons".

In addition, hydraulic infrastructure improvement works, worth 100,000 euros, are going to be carried out to improve water management towards greater sustainability of the cave and the mountain range in which it is located. A new perimeter security fence will be built along the entire length of the site, with an investment of 150,000 euros.

The handrails inside the cave will be renewed to increase safety along the route, at a cost of 100,000 euros. Furthermore, a virtual reality room is to be built which will provide virtual accessibility to areas of the cave that cannot be visted by the public and the cave paintings, which are not shown for conservation reasons, with an allocation of 75,000 euros.