A group of hikers near the access to the El Saltillo suspension bridge. / E. CABEZAS

El Saltillo bridge celebrates its first birthday with over 50,000 visits in first year

The president of the provincial government said the area has become one of the province's most popular attractions despite the pandemic

EUGENIO CABEZAS CANILLAS DE ACEITUNO.

Last Tuesday marked one year since the inauguration of the El Saltillo bridge in October 2020.

The bridge connects the two sides of the Los Almachares ravine, between the towns of Canillas de Aceituno and Sedella.

Despite being given the misleading name of the Axarquía's Caminito del Rey', suggesting that it was a controlled tourist attraction like the original one near Ardales, the infrastructure has been a real economic boost to the area.

This was highlighted by the president of the provincial government, Francisco Salado. This first year of operation has closed with "a balance of more than 50,000 visits and the natural and economic revitalisation of the area, with up to a 60 per cent increase in the turnover of businesses in the area," he said on the anniversary.

"Despite the pandemic, the El Saltillo bridge has managed to become one of the main natural attractions of the province, which has served to enhance the value of one of the most rugged and beautiful areas of the Axarquia" Salado went on to say.

The anniversary also marked a painful reminder of the woman who died days after the bridge opened, after falling from the edge of a narrow path down a ravine.

Environmentalists have also criticised the provincial government's promotion of the area as a tourist destination saying that people only go for "the adrenaline rush and to take a selfie on the bridge. They are not real hikers" and that the increased tourism "threatens the habitat of Bonelli's eagle" which is native to the area.