Category: National

International tourist arrivals slowing down in Spain

Fewer foreign tourists have come to Spain this summer season than in 2017, which was a record year for the sector. International arrivals numbered 9.98 million in the month of July, a 4.9 percent drop from the same period last year.
Spain’s biggest markets have been sending fewer visitors: the number of British tourists fell by 5.6 percent in July, while there was a 11.4 percent drop in visitors from France and 6.2 percent from Germany.
Barring natural events – such as the emissions from the Iceland volcano that paralyzed air traffic for several days in April 2010, slowing down visits to Spain by 13 percent – the figure for July 2018 represents the biggest decline in international tourist arrivals since 2009, when the economic crisis led to monthly drops of between 10 percent and 15 percent.
However, the July figure of 9.98 million international visitors is only “low” compared to last year’s all-time high of 10.5 million. The 10-million threshold has been crossed three times in recent history, twice in the month of August and once in July.
Industry leaders are also pointing to a recovery of alternative sun-and-sand destinations such as Tunisia and Turkey, whose tourism sector had suffered in recent years from terrorist attacks and regional instability. In the case of Turkey, the recent depreciation of the lira has made the country even more attractive to foreign tourists.
Also, exceptionally warm weather in northern Europe has made it unnecessary to fly to Spain to enjoy the beach. France, Britain and even Finland and Norway have experienced a hot summer, while in Russia, the temperature in June was eight degrees higher than usual.
Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto has played down the year-on-year drop from July 2017, saying that the government wants “a strategy based on quality” and “diversification” in order to avoid overcrowding.
“We are going to get behind a strategy based on quality, aware that there is going to be a slowdown in tourism flows. It is already happening,” said Maroto at a news conference in Santander recently.
But the minister also underscored that the accumulated figure for the last seven months shows 47.1 million tourist arrivals, a 0.3 percent rise from the same period last year. She also said that tourist spending has grown 3 percent so far this year.
Maroto added that her department wants to diversify the options for tourists because there are currently “very overcrowded destinations” and this is creating “problems with local residents.” The minister did not directly allude to the anti-tourist sentiment that has cropped up in parts of Spain due to the mass tourism in some city centres.
The Balearic Islands continued to top the list of favourite tourist destinations in July 2018, receiving 24.4 percent of all foreign tourists in Spain. Catalonia ranked second with 23.9 percent, followed by Andalusia with 13.3 percent. In spite of this, arrivals declined in all three regions. The Madrid region experienced the opposite trend, with a 6.7 percent rise in foreign tourists in July. The tourists who did come spent fewer days in Spain compared with other years. The average stay in July was four to seven nights.

Mallorca property scam victims “unprotected”

Around 60 people who have been affected by an alleged scam in Mallorca, in which properties that didn’t exist were put on sale, say that they feel “unprotected” under current Spanish law, and are calling for new regulations so that episodes like this one cannot happen again.
The real estate company ‘Mallorca Investment’ was offering off-plan properties in a number of areas on the Balearic island, at below-market prices. Clients handed over 10 percent of the sale price as a deposit, and when the future owners had seen that the plans were filed with the local council, the alleged scammers would take advantage of the situation and ask for more money. However, time would then pass and construction would never began. When the clients demanded explanations, no information was forthcoming.
The Civil Guard has so far arrested six people from developer Lujo Casa and the real estate agency Mallorca Investment, who are accused of keeping the deposits handed over by clients. The amount of money swindled from the victims totals more than €4 million, according to sources from the investigation, which could make this the biggest scam ever perpetrated in the history of the Balearic Islands.
The owner of Mallorca Investment, a businessman identified by his initials M. P., and who is of Italian origin, is currently being held in police custody before being brought before a judge. He is suspected of offenses of fraud and money laundering. The Italian businessman posted numerous photos of his luxury lifestyle on Facebook, including trips with his family all over the world, business-class flights to Thailand, holiday in Japan, hotel stays in Dubai and car trips in Cuba.
The owner of the developer Lujo Casa, identified by his initials C. G. R., fled Spain more than four months ago, when the first complaints from fraud victims put him in the spotlight.
Claims began to arrive in the month of March, and in May some of the affected families filed a lawsuit at a court in Palma de Mallorca, demanding all bank accounts be frozen and for an international arrest warrant to be issued for the promoter, who, sources from the investigation report, is currently in a South American country.
“We suspected that we were looking at a case of fraud,” a victims’ statement reads, “after determining that construction had not begun, that a number of the plots of land were not theirs, and that any changes we wanted to the plans were possible and free. We met with a lawyer who confirmed what we already suspected: that this had the look of a pyramid scheme.”
More victims joined the initial dozen or so original claimants, with the total thought to number around 200, many of whom are from outside Spain.
The victims report that the developer first moved to Barcelona, and then to Valencia, which is where they lost all trace of him. The victims also slammed the owner of the real estate firm, who claimed that he had also been conned. “From the first moment Mallorca Investment introduced itself as a partner,” the victims said in their statement.
The average amount that each person has lost is around €30,000, although there are more extreme cases, such as a foreign man who handed over more than €200,000 on the promise of a luxury apartment close to the sea. Among the victims are young couples who were seeking their first home, retirees, and families with young children.
All of the victims say that they feel “unprotected” due to changes made to the law in 2006, ending the right for anyone who had lost money in the purchase of an off-plan property to reclaim the funds from their insurance company or bank.
“We all trusted that, by making a bank transfer to a real estate company account, our money was protected; we thought that this kind of account was controlled by the banks and that it wasn’t so easy to take money out,” the victims’ statement reads. “Although this man was moving it around as he pleased.”
The victims have called on the authorities to take measures to ensure that episodes like this one are not repeated. They argue that “the only law that protected us” was abolished to the benefit of the banks.

Brit MP fights alleged wrongful arrest

A British MP has stepped into a drug case after an British businessman was imprisoned two months ago for 1.5 tonnes of hashish found in airbnb he was renting.
Chichester MP Gillian Keegan has been in touch over the arrest of Robert Anthony Mansfield-Hewitt, who has yet to be charged since being arrested over drug-dealing claims in June. Mr Mansfield-Hewitt is seriously ill and has been locked up with terrorists for more than two months in Spain.
The consultant engineer, who insists he is innocent, has yet to be charged over the 1.5 tonnes of hashish police found in the garage of the villa, he rented through Airbnb. He insists he has absolutely ‘no connection’ to the drugs that were being stored at the lodging in Campamento, in San Roque.
On the other hand, according to reports in local newspapers, the owner of the villa was charged for importing cocaine into Gibraltar last year.
Mr Mansfield-Hewitt’s local MP is said to be ‘very concerned’ about the situation and was speaking to his secretary in Gibraltar, where his company has a base.
In a case that also has strange parallels to the plight of Scottish student Robbie McMiller who was arrested in October last year after six marijuana plants were found in his rental property, Mansfield-Hewitt was woken up and ‘dragged out of bed practically naked at gunpoint’ by police officers at 8.30pm on 27th June.
Colleagues and friends believe that Mansfield-Hewitt, who has a PhD and no criminal record, is an ‘innocent man’ and has been wrongfully imprisoned. They added that the Chichester-based engineer is currently in a critical condition and is being held in the medical wing at Botafuegos prison in Algeciras – a dangerous jail, which notoriously houses a number of Basque ETA terrorists.
Robert’s PA Pilar Ford told local newspapers that she had not had any contact with Robert since18th August. “We have not had any telephone calls – it’s very worrying,” she said, “Usually he calls two to three times a week.”
Robert’s lawyer, Jose Maria Castro Escudero, said that a judge was due to visit the prisoner and make a decision on whether to grant bail or not but there has been no further developments. “He is desperate,” added Castro Escudero

Stolen babies case continues

Spain’s first trial linked to thousands of suspected cases of babies stolen from their mothers during the Franco dictatorship wrapped up last week with prosecutors seeking 11 years jail for the elderly former gynaecologist in the dock.
Eduardo Vela, 85, a former gynaecologist at the now-defunct San Ramon clinic in Madrid, is accused of having in 1969 taken Ines Madrigal, now aged 49, from her biological mother and given her to another woman who then raised her and was falsely certified as her birth mother.
“In this country, a person who played God — changing people’s parentage, faking birth certificates like in my case and negating the right to know one’s origins — cannot remain unpunished,” Madrigal told reporters at the end of the hearing in Madrid.
She said she hoped the trial, whose verdict could come within a month, would help open “thousands of cases that are closed” even if she would never know who her real mother was.
Activists say around 2,000 similar cases dating back to General Francisco Franco’s dictatorship of 1939 to 1975 have failed to make it to court in Spain because of a lack of evidence or because the time limit to file charges has passed.
In a dark and often overlooked chapter of the right-wing dictatorship, the newborns of some left-wing opponents of the regime, as well as of unmarried or poor couples, were removed from their mothers and adopted.
New mothers were frequently told their babies had died suddenly within hours of birth and the hospital had taken care of their burials, but in fact they were given or sold to another family.
Baby stealing began after Franco came to power following the 1936-39 civil war pitting left-wing Republicans against conservative Nationalists loyal to the general. It was part of an effort to purge Spain of Marxist influence.
It was expanded to take newborns from poor families as well as illegitimate babies, and went on as an illegal trafficking network during democracy until at least 1987 when a new law was introduced to better regulate adoption.
Enrique Vila, a lawyer who has written extensively about the “stolen babies” scandal, said Vela’s trial could provide “moral” encouragement for other victims to bring forward lawsuits.
“There are dozens of doctors and nuns across Spain who are guilty” and who are still alive, he told Spanish news agency AFP.
During questioning in the opening session of the trial on 26th June, Vela said he could not remember details of how the clinic, which he ran for 20 years up to 1982 and is believed to have been a centre for baby trafficking, operated. He added that the signature on Madrigal’s birth certificate was not his.
Vela — the first person prosecuted over the “stolen babies” scandal which broke in the media in the 1980s — was due to return to the witness stand the following day but instead he went to hospital after falling ill. He is accused of falsifying official documents, illegal adoption, unlawful detention and certifying a non-existent birth.
The probe into the case was not without its difficulties, with a policeman declaring in court that Vela burnt his clinic’s archives.
But the agent insisted that “there was a plot to which Mr. Vela probably belonged” that consisted in taking babies from single mothers who were in shelters that were often run by religious orders.
Confession
Emilie Helmbacher, a French journalist, also testified by videoconference. In an investigation in Madrid in December 2013, she used a hidden camera to record Vela as he appeared to confess to having given Madrigal away as a “gift” in June 1969.
In the recording, he said “Ines Madrigal’s mother did not pay” for her.
Vela’s lawyer Rafael Casas criticised the hidden camera recording and said his client had “nothing to do” with what he is accused of.
Another witness, Paz Gordon, who stepped in as godmother for Madrigal’s baptism, told the court that the actual mediator in her case was a Jesuit priest.
The cases echo events that took place during Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship. Courts there have since handed down lengthy jail terms for the systematic theft of babies from political prisoners.

El Chicle to take part in reconstruction

Reconstruction of the murder of Madrid sixth-former and model Diana Quer took place Friday, for which the killer will be taken from his prison cell in order to participate.
Juan Carlos Quer and Diana Cristina López-Pinel, parents of the 18-year-old who went missing on August 22, 2016, and her sister Valeria – who was 16 the last time Diana was seen alive – have successfully applied to the court for a reconstruction as part of their private prosecution against José Enrique Abuín Gey, 42, alias ‘El Chicle’.
The accused initially claimed he accidentally ran Diana Quer over when the teen was walking the two kilometres back to her family’s holiday villa in A Pobra do Caramiñal (A Coruña province, Galicia) a house the Quer sisters had spent every summer in since they were aged one and three respectively.
Police found no evidence of Diana’s being knocked down, accidentally or otherwise.
After this, ‘El Chicle’ changed his story, claiming he strangled her ‘accidentally’.
He at first refused to testify, but his varying versions when interrogated included his having tied Diana by the neck to the passenger seat headrest with the reins from a bridle, and then in another account, had tied her up and put her in the boot.
Abuín Gey now denies raping Diana, but earlier had admitted he ‘tried’ and that she had fought him off by ‘kicking constantly’.
A high-profile search for the student from Pozuelo de Alarcón went on for 16 months, with the family and even some investigators believing she was still alive and either kidnapped or had run away from home.
But her naked body was found down an eight-metre well, submerged in water, in the port town of Rianxo some 20 kilometres from her holiday home, on New Year’s Eve.
Initially, Abuín Gey’s wife Rosario, now 30, claimed she had been with him all evening on August 22 and that they had ‘gone out to steal petrol’ because they were ‘broke’.
More recently, however, she confessed she had stayed at home all night and her husband had ‘returned, changed his clothing and left again’.
Abuín Gey was reported to have raped Rosario’s twin sister when the women were 17, but been talked out of reporting him.
The court has recently decided to reopen the case as they believe it mirrors Diana’s fate.
Abuín Gey was caught after attempting a near-identical kidnap of a 33-year-old Ecuadorian woman in the Rianxo area, who was rescued in the nick of time by passers-by when she was about to be locked in the boot.
 
 

All Monarch airlines flights cancelled as airline ceases trading

CAA launches flying programme to bring 110,000 customers back to UK in response to Monarch Airlines administration

Monarch Airlines has ceased trading with immediate effect, leaving 110,000 customers overseas and in the region of 300,000 future bookings cancelled
Government has asked CAA to charter more than 30 aircraft to bring back to the UK Monarch Airlines customers currently overseas
Monarch customers in the UK and yet to travel: don’t go to the airport.  There will be no more Monarch flights
Monarch customers abroad: everyone due to fly in the next fortnight will be brought back to the UK at no cost to them. There is no need to cut short your stay
All affected customers should check new website monarch.caa.co.uk for more information

All future Monarch Airlines bookings, including flights and holidays, have now been cancelled following a decision by the company’s board to stop trading.  This is the UK’s largest ever airline to enter administration.
As all of Monarch’s flights due to depart from the UK have now been cancelled, customers should not go to their UK airport.  Affected customers still in the UK should check monarch.caa.co.uk for further information.
Due to the unprecedented number of UK consumers currently overseas who are affected by this airline administration, the CAA and Government are securing a fleet of more than 30 aircraft, flying to more than 30 airports, to bring 110,000 people back to the UK at no cost to them. This is the equivalent of operating, at very short notice, one of the UK’s largest airlines.
The CAA has a dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk, which is the best source of advice and information for affected customers, and a 24 hour helpline (0300 303 2800 from in the UK and Ireland, and +44 1753 330330 from overseas) to provide additional assistance.
Customers currently overseas should check monarch.caa.co.uk for confirmation of their new flight details which will be available a minimum of 48 hours in advance of their original departure time.  This website will be frequently updated with the latest information. Customers currently overseas shouldn’t go to the airport unless their flight back to the UK has been confirmed on monarch.caa.co.uk
Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of the CAA, said:
“We know that Monarch’s decision to stop trading will be very distressing for all of its customers and employees.
“This is the biggest UK airline ever to cease trading, so the Government has asked the CAA to support Monarch customers currently abroad to get back to the UK at the end of their holiday at no extra cost to them.
“We are putting together, at very short notice and for a period of two weeks, what is effectively one of the UK’s largest airlines to manage this task.  The scale and challenge of this operation means that some disruption is inevitable. We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring everyone home.
“We urge people affected by the company’s collapse to check our dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk for advice and information on flights back to the UK.  It also gives information to those passengers that have future bookings with Monarch but are yet to leave the UK.”
The CAA will be providing regular updates.

Ryanair to publish list of cancelled flights

RYANAIR PUBLISHES LIST OF FLIGHTS TO BE CANCELLED UP TO END OF OCTOBER OVER 98% OF RYANAIR CUSTOMERS WILL BE UNAFFECTED
 
Ryanair today confirmed that it has published the full list of flight cancellations (now less than 50 per day) between Thurs 21st Sept. to Tues 31st Oct. next. These cancellations have been allocated where possible, to Ryanair’s bigger base airports, and routes with multiple daily frequencies so that Ryanair can offer these disrupted customers the maximum number of alternate flights and routes in order tominimise inconvenience to them.
The full list of these flight cancellations (from Thurs 21st to Thurs Oct 31st) will appear on the Ryanair.com website later today, and customers affected by these cancellations will be emailed with offers of alternative flights or full refunds, and details of their EU261 compensation entitlement.
The airports where one line of flying will be removed for the next 6 weeks are as follows, (these airports have been selected because of the high frequency of flights Ryanair operates to/from these airports where customers can be offered the most accommodating options):
 

Barcelona
1 of 12 lines of flights

Brussels Charl
1 of 13 lines of flights

Dublin
1 of 23 lines of flights

Lisbon
1 of 4 lines of flights

London Stan
2 of 41 lines of flights

Madrid
1 of 13 lines of flights

Milan Bergamo
1 of 14 lines of flights

Porto
1 of 8 lines of flights

Rome Fiumi
1 of 3 lines of flights

 
 
While Ryanair sincerely regrets and apologises for these cancellations, it pointed out that they will affect less than 2% of all customers over the next 6 weeks, and the majority of these passengers will be offered alternative flights on the same or next day. For those passengers who cannot, or do not wish to take the alternative flights offered they will receive a full refund and their EU261 compensation.
Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said;
“While over 98% of our customers will not be affected by these cancellations over the next 6 weeks, we apologise unreservedly to those customers whose travel will be disrupted, and assure them that we have done our utmost to try to ensure that we can re-accommodate most of them on alternative flights on the same or next day.
Ryanair is not short of pilots – we were able to fully crew our peak summer schedule in June, July and August – but we have messed up the allocation of annual leave to pilots in Sept and Oct because we are trying to allocate a full year’s leave into a 9 month period from April to December. This issue will not recur in 2018 as Ryanair goes back onto a 12 month calendar leave year from 1st Jan to 31st December 2018.
This is a mess of our own making. I apologise sincerely to all our customers for any worry or concern this has caused them over the past weekend. We have only taken this decision to cancel this small proportion of our 2,500 daily flights so that we can provide extra standby cover and protect the punctuality of the 98% of flights that will be unaffected by these cancellations.”

Your SIP Card

 
Many expats living in Spain have SIP cards and are entitled to free medical treatment and medicines at
drastically reduced prices. The Spanish medical system is first class and rated as one of the best in the world and
many expats owe their lives to the treatment they have received. There is a direct link between SIP cards, the
padrón and NIE numbers. Central government has now decided that expats who received medical treatment but
whose padrón is out of date will be invoiced for that medical treatment.
Sofia Alvarez, councillor for foreign residents explained at a recent meeting with community leaders that by law
EU citizens must renew the padrón (census) every 5 years and non-EU citizens every 2 years. In order to register
on the padron simply go to the padrón office in the Playa Flamenca town hall with an hour to spare and take a
ticket. You will need your passport or identity card and something to prove that you are still living at your
address, for example a suma, electricity or water bill and your padrón will be renewed, and this automatically
renews your NIE as well.
Every October our local Town Hall has to send the padrón list to the central statistics office (INI) in Madrid. The
Town Hall gets paid based on the number of people on the padrón. Sofia Alvarez pointed out that greater
numbers on the padrón mean greater services directly in this community. Each year the INI send approximately
5,000 names back to Orihuela Town Hall with instructions to send the local police door-to- door to establish that
each of those names actually live at the addresses specified. If the property looks deserted, if nobody is home or
a neighbour says that the named person does not live there then that person will be removed from the padrón.
Normally the names checked are the ones that have not been recently renewed.
Many people, who do not want to be tax resident outside their home country assume that signing on the census
(padrón) requires them to become a tax resident. This is not correct. Once you are on the census for three months
you are required to become a resident (Residencia) but this is not the same as a tax or fiscal resident.
Although you can obtain a SIP card once you have signed on the padrón, the SIP card is technically only valid
for three months until you obtain “Residencia”. This is why a SIP card can be cancelled if the padrón is not
renewed.
Besides health care, other benefits of being “in the system” include the right to vote in local and European
elections and also there are large inheritance tax discounts available to residents. On the subject of Brexit, Sofia
Alvarez expressed the opinion that British owners of Spanish property who are properly registered on the padrón
will get preferential treatment over those who are not. So don’t delay, register or renew today.

Freedom of movement to end in 2019

Freedom of movement ‘will not continue as we know it’ post Brexit. The Prime Minister has
insisted that the free movement of people from the EU into Britain will end in 2019.
It contradicts suggestions from Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond that the current
rules in place could continue for a transitional period after the UK leaves the European
Union.
Richard Hammond said recently that there should be no ‘cliff edge’ for immigration when
Britain leaves the EU in 2019. He implied that current immigration rules should remain in
place during any transitional period after Brexit, which could last up to three years.
“At the present time, we have a high level of dependence on foreign workers in the UK.
“Nobody wants us to go over a cliff edge in March 2019 where suddenly our health services
are unable to cope, social care is unable to deliver,” he told the press.
Disagreements within the conservative party are sparking disapproval from opposing MPs.
“The government is in total disarray. Unless the cabinet can agree on a position how can it
possibly negotiate Brexit on behalf of Britain with the EU?” Tom Brake MP said.
The government has not specified what the arrangement will entail, although MPs have
brushed off the idea of a Norwegian-style arrangement.

Four-hour queues at passport control on UK flights

Airlines have warned of long queues at passport control on landing in EU countries due to
greater checks in light of the rising terror risk across the continent.
And in Barcelona, strike action has led to delays increasing even more, with waits of up to
four hours to get through.
Passengers travelling to Europe from States not in the Schengen passport-free zone are now
checked on databases rather than simply flashing their passport at a police officer.
All this is taking so long that many passengers have reported missing their flights, despite
getting to the airports over three hours before take-off, and being refused entry to the front of
the queue for those which are about to board.
Ryanair, EasyJet and British Airways have all warned passengers to allow several hours'
extra time, and have all criticised the fact that the busiest time of the travelling year – August
– combined with the extra checks have not been properly planned for.
Very few airports have been supplied with extra staff to cover the increased workload.
Minister for aviation in Britain, Lord Callanan, says he is in contact with air travel bosses in
Spain, Portugal and Italy to try to convince them to take greater steps to ensure movements
through passport control upon leaving and arriving were streamlined 'so people can just get
on with their holidays'.
Although the governments in Spain and France have promised to supply additional staff, as
yet nothing has been done.
In one case, a flight to Birmingham left Barcelona airport with 22 empty seats because of
queues passengers had no idea about until they reached the terminal – and although they
begged to go to the front of the queue as their flight was due to board, they were refused and
sent to the back.
Meanwhile, Ryanair has told all British nationals or anyone travelling to and from Britain to
ensure they get to the airport at least three hours before they are due to fly – even if they have
no checked luggage.
Barcelona airport strikes are taking place every Friday until September, and these are also
creating a knock-on effect on the rest of the week.

Briton detained for sexual abuse

A British man has been detained, accused of raping his two step sisters when they were under age. Officers from the National Police detained a British fugitive in Jacarilla who had a European arrest warrant for the crimes of sexual exploitation and rape. The man now faces life imprisonment at home
The 44 year old fugitive is accused of raping his two under age step sisters as many as 18 times. He started abusing girls when he was 16 and his attacks led to one of the victims having to have an abortion.
In 1973, the 16 year old accused started to sexually abuse his younger sister aged 12 years old. These sexual abuses continued for three years at regular intervals. After her abortion at the age of 15 she fled from home to live with her grandmother.
In her absence the child molester turned to his other step sister, some two or three times a week until she reached 18 when she also fell pregnant, and they now have a son in common.
The father of the arrested man hid his son’s crimes for several years until he suggested he should flee from Britain, and moved to Spain to hide. Once their father died, the victims reported their suffering and the British issued a search and arrest warrant.
After several investigations by the International Location of Fugitives Group of the National Police alerted different police squads to start their own search and the man was tracked down to his home in Jacarilla where he was arrested on 8th May.

Cat Café opens in Valencia

 
Valencia’s first-ever ‘cat café’ has just opened on Calle Túria with a huge collection of rescued moggies seeking homes. ‘El Passatge dels Gats’ is home to felines rescued from the street by the Valencia-based shelter Asociación Adaana, and have all been spayed or neutered, wormed, de-flead, vaccinated and given a thorough veterinary check – as is standard with most shelters whenever they welcome a new arrival.
However, in order to get a second chance at life and enjoy being spoilt rotten in a loving home, the cats need to be ‘humanised’ – as non-domestic cats tend to be very scared and shy at first, but quickly adapt and make friends with their fellow species if they are given lots of attention.
A few ‘stroking sessions’ is normally enough to break the ice, then the cats realise they cannot get enough of the comfort supplied by humans and swiftly become affectionate.
For customers, they can enjoy the added bonus of being able to relax in feline company whilst they wind down with a drink – after all, numerous studies have proven that stroking a cat relieves tension, increases dopamine and oxytocin levels and lowers blood pressure.
Given that the café is full of animals, customers cannot just walk in off the street as the cats may escape, undoing all the hard work of Adaana and El Passatge dels Gats and their clients.
Therefore, booking is required, by telephone or via the website elpassatgedelsgats.com.
A ‘bronze’ booking gives customers half an hour with the cats, whilst a ‘silver’ reservation gives them a full hour with a drink included and ‘gold’ is the same as silver but with a free snack as well. Finally, a ‘platinum’ booking means an hour’s worth of cat-stroking, a drink, and more exquisite, high-class snack.
All animals at the café are available for adoption – in fact, customers are actively encouraged to take them home and have the added advantage of all the most expensive initial vet bills having already been paid.
 

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