El Ingenio shopping centre will be able to open on some sundays and public holidays / e. cabezas

Vélez-Málaga gears up for Sunday shopping in the summer and more public holiday store openings

The Axarquia town has become the eleventh municipality in Malaga province to be declared an 'area of great tourist influence’

Eugenio Cabezas
EUGENIO CABEZAS

Vélez-Málaga became the eleventh town in Malaga province to be granted more freedom with regard to store opening hours for the summer and Easter week on Tuesday, when it was declared an ‘area of great tourist influence’.

This means that shops with more than 300 square metres of floor space will be able to open on certain Sundays and public holidays, which will allow the El Ingenio shopping centre, along with other establishments to open their doors on those days. Although the resolution has been published in the Official Bulletin of the Junta de Andalucía (BOJA) this Tuesday, it has been in effect since 1 September.

Other places with the recognition are Malaga city, Marbella, Fuengirola, Estepona, Benalmádena, Torremolinos, Nerja, Rincón de la Victoria, Mijas and Manilva.

According to the resolution published in the BOJA, among the criteria that Vélez-Málaga had to meet to achieve the status is having been declared a World Heritage Site or containing one or more properties declared of cultural interest as part of its historical and artistic heritage. The town, which is considered as the ‘capital’ of the Axarquía region, has a total of 28 properties registered in the General Catalogue of Andalusian Historical Heritage, of which 25 have been declared Sites of Cultural Interest (BIC).

They are the Old Convent of San José de la Soledad, Vélez-Málaga's fort (La Fortaleza), Torre del Mar's fort, the Marqués Castle, Vélez-Málaga's historic centre, Cerro Alarcón, Cerro del Mar, Cerro del Peñón, Chorreras, Convent of Jesús, María and José, Torre de Lagos, Torre del Jaral, Torre de Moya, Torre de Chilches, Torre de Chilches, Torre de Lagos, Torre de Jaral, Torre de Moya, Torre de Chilches, Torre de Manganeta, Torre Atalaya, the Nuestra Señora de Gracia convent, San Juan Bautista church, the Royal Santiago convent, Los Toscanos and El Jardín Phoenician remains, the Meditación church and cloisters, the mouth of the river Vélez which is an important site for native bird species and other wildlife and the site of the Mezquitilla shipwreck.

Events

Vélez-Málaga also hosts a number of major sporting and cultural events of a regional, national and international importance, such as its Easter Week and the Virgen del Carmen procession in Torre del Mar, which have been declared Festivals of National Tourist Interest in Andalucía.

The town hall’s application contained a time limitation because it asked for permission for the Easter and summer periods and not the whole year. For the regional government, the Easter period is considered justified, as it has been declared a Fiesta of National Tourist Interest in Andalucía. As for the summer period, Vélez-Málaga town hall provided data on solid urban waste in the municipality for 2021, which shows an increase in waste in the months corresponding to this period.

For all these reasons, the Junta de Andalucía considered the temporary restriction requested by the town hall to be justified, not extending it to the rest of the year, "based on commercial interests, by allowing a balance between the different commercial formats and based on the interests of tourism and consumers, by allowing longer opening hours at times of the year when there is an increase in the population due to the influx of tourists, i.e. Easter and the summer period".