‘Saloufest’ promoters cancel the event due to political “pressure”
Barcelona (CNA).- After 16 years taking place in the town of Salou, on Catalonia's Costa Daurada, the ‘Saloufest’ festival has been cancelled. According to the organisers, the Catalan Government and Salou Town Hall “pressure” make it “nearly impossible to offer programmes for youth tourism in the region”. The festival, aimed at young students from the UK, combines a sports programme with different leisure activities through five days. However, many neighbours and entities in the area have repeatedly complained about out-of-control parties taking place, which saw loud singing and drunken behaviour on the streets of the town. As an alternative, the promotors offer to the 10,000 students which were due to attend ‘Saloufest’ to go to ‘Sportsvest’ instead, an event to be organised in Lloret de Mar, on the Costa Brava.
According to the company, the city council believes that the services will not be able to meet the surge of the number of student visitors, which will also lead to a "high media pressure". I Love Tour regrets that the "alarming number of administrative inspections" of the Saloufest partners have "not made it feasible" to continue with the event. It also claimed that, sometimes, the participants were treated "with intimidation by the police" and were fined for "harmless actions that are in accordance to the law". The company argued that the City Hall "is closing its doors to youth tourism, affecting future generations of family tourism".
In a statement, it reminded that it has been operating in the area for 16 years "without interruption", has brought in "more than 100,000 customers" and has contributed each year with €5 million to the economy of Salou in low season. In this regard, the organisation has sent its apologies to the establishments that open on the occasion of Saloufest, but alleged that the event cannot go ahead "without the certainty that clients are well looked after and safe".
“It was a short tour package related to drunkenness”, Salou mayor says
The mayor of Salou, Pere Granados, was delighted at the announcement that there will not be more editions of 'Saloufest'. "It was a short tour package related to drunkenness and alcohol, which damaged the image and model of tourism that wants to move towards quality and excellence", he said.
The mayor insisted that every year the town receives two million tourists and that "Salou is no more than 9,000 people". Moreover, the politician pointed out that the city could not ban the event and that it was the fact that the hotel sector turned its back on this type of offer that triggered its departure.
Indeed, this Wednesday entities that are part of the Federation of Employers of Hotel Industry and Tourism (FEHT) of Tarragona presented a manifesto in which they undertake not to accommodate tour packages, which under the pretext of sport, promote alcohol and sex. Among the signatories are associations of hoteliers, apartments, campsites and receiving agencies, in addition to PortAventura.
Businesses are reticent to lose ‘Saloufest’, while neighbours are glad
Following the announcement that there will not be more editions, several businessmen and businesswomen from the epicentre of the city regretted that Salou will lose an important source of business during the low season. On the contrary, some neighbours have expressed their satisfaction because, in their view, students only disturb.