BARS in Malaga are threatening to strike in response to local residents calling for a ban on more drinking-spots opening in the city centre.
The sheer volume of bars in the historic centre – blamed for attracting high numbers of tourists and causing locals to leave – has recently been a source of heated debate.
Residents called for a ban on new bars after a report by the Observatory of Urban Environment (OMAU) concluded that extra bars and tourism are causing noise, increasing city centre cleaning bills and lowering residents’ quality of life.
However, a local business leader has hit back and called on all bars to shut their doors for 24 hours to prove to locals just how important they are to the economy of Malaga.
“Whenever they speak about our industry it is always in a derogatory way,” said Jose Luis Ramos, president of the hostelry association EHMA-Costa del Sol.
“They highlight negative aspects such as noise or how terraces affect the right of way, when they should be praising the creation of employment and richness, the number of tourists we bring into the city and the good image they have of Malaga when they leave.”
For many decades, Malaga was avoided by tourists and used simply for its airport, a gateway to the Costa del Sol.
In recent years, however, the centre has seen major regeneration and become a popular destination.
Pedro Marin, author of the Malaga report for the OMAU, said: “The facilities for the tourist must be in harmony with the classic activities of the city. We must take this into account.
“In the city centre there are 42 businesses. 18 of them are bars, and in the same area there are 11 empty plots and 15 abandoned buildings.”