Automatically translated from Basque, translation may contain errors. More information here. Elhuyarren itzultzaile automatikoaren logoa

Debates on silent macro-projects in the electoral campaign

  • This Sunday the elections will be held in Catalonia. Some topics have been covered by the sequels of the Procésa and the possible return of Carles Puigdemonte. But two giant and emblematic projects are already underway, both clearly linked to tourism: the Hard Rock leisure park and the expansion of Prat airport in Barcelona. Above all, this subject, which has expanded faster than tourism in the last year, has gone through the drought with force.

Aturem Hard Rock (Gelditu Hard Rock) plataformaren manifestazio bateko irudia. Infobae

Many readers would have ever visited the Port Aventura Park, or would have heard of this sicario. There are many schools that make their travels, as well as large families, children, youth and adults, where entertainment can be found very easily. It also helps the proximity of the tourist coast of Salou. And it is quite usual to make a stay in the region and move to Barcelona, as it is by car an hour. The roadmaps of Catalan tourism plans are linked to it.

In part it is very much seen Port Aventura, and put on the skin of those who do business with them, it can be thought that an area full of tourist attractions needs a new push so that that “excessive gaze” does not become a problem. That is the Hard Rock project – who will remember the project of what was supposed to be Eurovegas, which was suspended.

Hard Rock: casinos, betting houses and hotels in times of water scarcity

The process of the Hard Rock project began for quite a few years, shortly after a forensic tour, but it seems that it is starting to appear, as of 2016, and the current Catalan government of the ERC has not closed the doors to the project. Protests by environmentalist activists such as Aturem Hard Rock (Gelditu Hard Rock) have recently increased. The increased tone of Comúns has come from the hand of protests and when it may be in the process of execution of the project, jeopardizing the governance of the Generalitat. The elections next Sunday, in a way, will be done because of the blame; a few months ago, Comúns, umbrella of the Podemos Sumar spectrum, which went from supporting the government to making a tough opposition, the budget could not be approved by the government, and President ERC and Peré Aragonese could only anticipate the elections.

Hard Rock: an old model when water drips

The passing of the years and the protests are causing a decrease in the space of the project, with an initial forecast of 825 hectares, and information from the last months indicates 70 hectares. The parties on the left were negative about the initial project, but how many have changed their minds as the dimensions were reduced.

Although they project the Hard Rock urbanism with PortAventura, they will not have similarities with PortAventura in terms of the leisure model. In fact, the American company Hard Rock wants to install casinos, betting houses, giant shopping malls and hotels in this space, where concerns and complaints have multiplied by being at the base of leisure betting houses and casinos. Half of the space would be occupied by the hotels, according to the newspaper La Vanguardia.

Hard Rock would spend over a million cubic meters of water a year

The data of the Ministry of Climate Change, belonging to the branch of the Generalitat, casts red light in more than one sector: these establishments would spend 1,086,000 cubic meters of water a year in the supposed Hard Rock area. Catalonia is not the best time for water; in February an emergency situation was established due to the worst droughts in history and the consumption of water in households was limited, as well as agricultural, industrial or recreational use. Forecasts are even worse for the summer season. The reservoirs of Barcelona, Girona and Tarragona accounted for 22% of their storage capacity last April, far from the average of the last ten years, 76%.

We mentioned CKD earlier, but it is not the only aspect that the project is tacitly assuming. For example, as stated by the media Tarragona Digital, the mayor of Salou, Pere Granados (Sumem per Salou – PSC), has frequently defended the project. An ERC deputy said in February that leisure had not to be a "priority", and Granados stood against it without bursts; days later President Pere Aragonese said yes, that the Hard Rock project will advance by the government. Granados announced that the Hard Rock Park will open in 2027. It is clear that the project is very favourable to the mayor, a member of the Socialist Party and ruled by Sumario-Podemos.

“The airport needs to be expanded”

The Hard Rock project will be one more tool to satisfy mass tourism. A macro-project of this kind will also require an increase in the number of visitors, to which the government will have to allocate resources. There is one problem that political parties publicly highlight: Prat airport in Barcelona. They say that they have been too small, especially on the grounds that they are establishing more ties with Europe and Asia than ever before. Four years after the elections next Sunday, the airport issue will mark the enlargement works.

The Barcelona airport of Prat, which is reaching the technical top, defends the extension of the aspects that can reach the government

The PSC candidate, Salvador Illa, former Spanish Minister of Health in Pandemia, who wins the election according to all the surveys, spoke in a campaign act “The airport and also the roads must be expanded, but some have preferred to block the process [refers to the CKD]. How will people come? The scooter? We have the sixth most visited airport in Europe. How will we lose it?”

The Barcelona airport of Prat is saturated. Last year it had 50 million visitors, 19% more than in 2022, and the local authority has warned that technically it is reaching the maximum, which would be 55 million. If it has increased so much from one year to the next, if the rise was made in the same proportion as 2024, 59 million passengers should pass through the airport. They're just hypotheses. At the moment, it has been made public that between April and October of this year almost 5% more flights scheduled from the tourism point of view have been scheduled in the most powerful semester of the year. There is therefore a small barrier of 50 million visitors.

Listening to the PSC’s message and with the possibility of winning elections and forming government, one might think that the airport will be expanded in the coming years. The Catalan Government of the ERC has begun negotiations with the Government of Spain, according to the “slow” PSC, but they are on their way. The airport can therefore be expected to increase in the short term and to be given a year.

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