By Stephanie Riley
The small village of Valverde de Júcar in Cuenca, the region of Castilla-La Mancha, is home to a long-closed flourmill owned by the family of Virginia Pérez Buendía. This ageing millionairess split her time living between Valverde de Júcar and Madrid. She unfortunately passed away in September at the age of 86 in her flat in the capital, although authorities suspect she had been dead for approximately 6 weeks before she was found due to her extreme reclusiveness.
While the residents of Valverde del Júcar described Pérez Buendía as a loner, they received an incredibly generous gift upon her death. This millionairess left her entire fortune to a fund that will provide grants to needful students of the place.
Local priest Arsenio Triguero commented that until the foundation that will eventually dispense the grants has been legally constituted, it is impossible to know the extent of her fortune which includes stocks and shares as well as real estate. The mayor and the local justice of the peace, who is also one of the will’s executors, must still examine the legalities of her generosity but already the grand gesture has lifted the spirits of the locals.
Given the difficulties in Spain for the last several years, suffered by those in small towns as well as big cities, acts of generosity such as this are greatly appreciated not only because of the noble thought behind them but also because they are an incredibly big help to the people.
Fitur, Spain’s International Tourism Fair which took place from the 28th of January to the 1st of February, had 225,000 visitors, a record attendance demonstrating the improvement of the tourism industry in Spain and the world at large. According to Fitur director Ana Larrañaga, the number of visitors was the highest since the beginning of Spain’s recession.
Part of the brilliant record was the 12% increase in the number of Fitur visitors from overseas. These represented over 100 different countries and brought a wonderful dynamic of culture and profit to the International Fair. Fitur generated more than 200 million euros in revenues for the city of Madrid, making it an extremely successful event.
Shopping Tourism is a fast growing component of the travel experience, whether as a prime motivation or as one of the major activities of travel. And there is a steady global increase in the flow of patients cutting through national borders under the Health Tourism phenomenon. The growth of both of these sub-sectors are reflected in the Madrid fair: exhibitors of the health and shopping tourism represented the largest sector at the event. Over 900 conferences between international buyers and exhibitors were held at Fitur Shopping. The Health Tourism sector reported 168 conferences between exhibitors and buyers.
Spain is increasingly being seen as an ideal destination for health tourism and the rise in this sector is helping to increase year-round tourism in the country.
Brussels, Belgium, the de facto capital of the European Union, recently raised its 2015 economic growth forecast for Spain to 2.3%. This optimistic outlook is the biggest upward revision for the entire Eurozone that the European Commission has made in recent months.
After several years of crisis, Brussels has begun to hold Spain up as a role model for other struggling European countries. Spain’s economic situation finally began to improve in 2014 after many years of recession despite setbacks in January 2015. The European Commission’s estimate of 2.3% growth for the Spanish economy is even more optimistic than the International Monetary Fund ‘s which recently predicted a 2% growth rate for Spain during 2015.
These upward estimates of the economic growth is the result of increased domestic demand fueled by the beginnings of recovery and job creation in addition to better financing conditions as well as falling oil prices which make Spain’s export prices more competitive.
However, while Brussels’ bright forecasts are very much welcome, the growth of real economy — i.e., that part of the economy that is concerned with actually producing goods and services, as opposed to the part of the economy that is concerned with buying and selling on the financial markets — will remain sluggish for some time. There will be no dramatic improvement in the jobless rates which are expected to stay above 20% until at least late next year. After the impoverishment of the middles classes, recovered prosperity for the man in the street is still not on the cards over the short term.
A contributor to Guidepost, Stephanie Riley grew up in Texas but attended the University of Arkansas where, as a perennial of the dean’s list, she earned her Bachelor’s degree ahead of time. She currently lives in Madrid and enjoys living in the city and learning about its rich culture and history. In her free time, she loves to read as well as travel and learn new languages. She speaks Spanish fluently (apart from her native English, of course) and is currently learning French. Moreover, she plans to continue learning from others and experiencing all that life has to offer through different cultures and people.
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