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Airport Boost For Andorra

From a poor European country with no real economy, Andorra has been transformed in the past forty years to a vibrant independent State, sought after by the wealthy for her tax haven status, and skiers for her ski runs that match the best in Europe for facilities and ski holidays infrastructure.

The one drawback that Andorra has had is the distance from a major airport, two and a half hours drive to Barcelona in Spain or Toulouse in France, with some ski holidays starting with a night in one of Barcelona hotels before setting off for Andorra.

But that is set to change with agreement for an aiport to be built just fifteen minutes drive from the Spanish / Andorra border.

As well as the extra ski tourists the new airport will impact Andorra as a tax haven. Andorra and the more famous Monaco are Europe’s leading tax havens, with residents enjoying the benefit of no income tax. Property prices in Andorra are less than a third of the price of Monaco’s.

Commenting on the new airport, one Andorra estate agent who specialises in Andorra property for sale thinks that the prices of Andorra properties will rise.

‘At the moment Monaco has the advantage of being ten minutes away from an international airport by helicopter, while Andorra is over two hours. With that advantage gone we anticipate more people considering a tax haven will consider Andorra, with a resulting appreciation in property prices.’

Property in Andorra has risen an average of ten per cent a year in recent years, with three streams of buyers – the local market, buyers for ski holiday homes who are often on a Crystal Ski holiday and like Andorra enough to buy a holiday home, plus those looking for a tax haven.

The airport is to be located in Seu d’Urgell, and the first flights are anticipated to be in 2010 or 2011, with a runway of 4,500 feet – not long enough for some medium range aircraft, and it is likely that most commercial airlines using the airport will be 60 to 80 seaters, plus private jets much favoured by the wealthy who might now consider Andorra as a viable tax haven.

Crystal Ski

As well as being welcomed by the property business in Andorra, a new airport has been greeted enthusiastically by the skiing industry.

The country has upgraded facilities in recent years, and often competes as a top ski destination in Europe, with well known ski companies like Crystal Ski operating holidays for the British market.

In recent years the number of tourists for the Andorra ski holiday season has topped ten million visitors, and the ski industry is an important part of the country’s economy, with the government investing in new infrastructure to help tempt visitors back for skiing for repeat visits.

But last year was the worst season for decades as the snow, which normally falls from end October, didn’t arrive until mid March, and the first drop in the number of ski holidays in Andorra being sold by British and other European travel agents dropped from the previous ski season for some years.

The new airport cutting travelling time from the UK, one of the Andorra ski holiday’s main markets, could boost the occupancy levels of hotels in Andorra significantly.

‘When people are considering a ski holiday in Andorra’, comment one travel guide, ‘At the moment to reach Soldeu, one of Andorra top ski villages, it’s two and a half hours from Barcelona to the capital la Vella, and then another twenty minutes on top of that – nearly a three hour trip after a flight. Cutting down resort arrival time from three to one hour will be enough to influence some people’s decision on where to visit.’

Recent investment by the government has reached several million Euros designed to keep the country in line with other European winter destinations, and intended to make Andorra a natural choice for the ski and snowboard fraternity, the addition of an airport close to her border could help ensure that.

All that is needed now is a good level of snow in the years to come.


YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BARCELONA TRAVELWelcome to the home of 1888 Worlds Fair and 1992 Olympics, the capital of Catalan region-a culture branded for its unique amalgam of Spanish and French mode of cooking. Known for its affluent culture and heritage, the city of Barcelona nestled on the shore of Mediterranean is of profoundly entrenched in the past.The Spectacular Art and ArchitecturesHolidaying at Barcelona will treat your eyes with some of the worlds finest and out of the ordinary archaic architecture that stands unrivaled and unsullied till date. It is the work of the superlative Spaniard architect Antonio Gaudi. Gaudies exclusive masterpiece work can be sighted at the church of Sigrid Familial, the six storey apartment of Casa Battle, Casa Mila also known as The Quarry-the multi family private residence that gives the impression of surging around the self same corner, Casa Vices-the summer villa outside Barcelona that is a perfect blend of traditional and innovative designs and last but not the least the Park Gull an urban setting project, a magnum opus of this genius. To intensify the magnificence of Barcelona, what waits ahead is the outstanding and exquisite work of Picasso. Picassos distinguished concerto is put on view at the Museum Picasso where wing of the museum parades Picassos take on Velazquezs famous Las Manias. The MNAC i.e. Museum National dart de Catalu±a displays an exotic collection of the work during Gothic and Renaissance era along with numerous other stupendous things like coins, medals, sculpture and carvings etc. but this is not all. A plethora of 20th century art and sculpture by prominent Joan Mire, Bolero, Asquint and Mother well can be treasured at the MACBA Meuse d Art Contemporaneous de Barcelona and Museum Foundation Joan Mire museums. Something more about BarcelonasThe months of June and July flicker with the celebration of the Fest de Greco-Barcelona arts festival, October and November have the onus for the international film festival and May is swarming with all the grand prix aficionados. You may choose any of these seasons and even apart from these to marvel at the exquisiteness of Barcelona. The accommodations are conveniently available suiting to your pocket. There are some good hotels at Sur Diagonal, Example, Bari Gothic etc. and luxury villas t spoil your self on the countryside. Barcelona on the streets of Spain has not scaled heights demographically. The thin population of les than two million, the city permits you to liberally roam around everywhere without much hurly burly. On your vacation to Barcelona do not leave untouched the Ceuta Vela-the old city that nests in the midst of Barcelona that speaks of its rich Gothic architecture of medieval times and a memorable march on the pedestrian street of La Ramble that grounds vibrant markets and street entertainers. The nightlife can be savored in the relatively solitary area of Garcia near the middle of Barcelona that also possesses the coveted Gaudies project of Casa Vices. Let the water caress and pamper your body at the beaches of Little Barcelona or Barcelonese and let your mouth relish the succulent seafood served here in Little Barcelona. A breath of air along the contemporary urban development project-Example where a grid is made with a garden adjacent to each block is unquestionably meaningful.Once you step into this massive city that is bifurcated into numerous districts and zones, you will have no snag in getting around. From metros, buses and trains to rental cars all are at your service. To the budget travelers it is advisable to take a special Barcelona Card that permits you free entry and discounts on hundred renowned venues along with priceless public transportation. sSo are you ready to be bedazzled by the Barcelona curves and curvatures?Did you find this article useful? For more useful tips and hints, points to ponder and keep in mind, techniques and insights pertaining to traveling, do please browse for more information at our websites.swww.infozabout.comswww.traveling.infozabout.com

Holiday-makers Should be Cautious When Hiring a Car Abroad

With the tourist season at its peak, holiday-makers should be wary when collecting a car at their destination and only book with certified car rental companies. People planning on hiring a car abroad are advised to be careful when dealing with local car operators as it could be too much risk for a tourist expecting a relaxing vacation.

According to rumours, cheaper rates are available locally, however this will only be valid in low-season or if the local company has incorrectly calculated its inventory. In high-season it will be almost impossible to rent a car, especially in the large coastal resorts and popular destinations such as Barcelona, Alicante and Mallorca.

It’s important to be cautious of local car rental firms that offer large discounts. This could be a gamble and ruin your vacation:

- Choices of cars are limited

- Cars are often older models that may not be well maintained

- It’s unlikely that there will be a helpline if anything goes wrong

- If there is a legal problem there will be limited support or advice

- If the car breaks down or is involved in an accident then a replacement is unlikely

- Some local car rental companies have limited legal terms and require trust from both parties – only advised for the experienced

Travellers should also be aware that local dealers will often drive customers to collect the car from their personal garage. This can disorientate inexperienced tourists in a foreign country, and could be dangerous for women.

It’s recommended that all tourists book cars in advance in order to get availability and to be sure that the service is being provided by a certified company.

Andorra Real Estate 2007 Gets Tax Haven Boost

More demand for residency in the European tax haven of Andorra has increased significantly in recent years, as rival tax haven Monaco has seen her property prices rise significantly.

And while property prices in Andorra have increased significantly as well, particularly in the last three years, it started from a much lower base than Monaco, and a property in Andorra still costs less than a quarter of that of Monaco.

The lowest price property in Andorra is currently a 38m2 studio apartment at 145,000 Euros, while in Monaco a 30m2 studio with a 7m2 balcony is on the market for 720,000 Euros.

Similarly, a three bedroom two bathroom 100m2 apartment in Andorra’s prime ski village of Soldeu is being marketed at 395,000 Euros, while in Monaco 2,500,000 Euros is being asked for a slightly larger 108m2 two bedroom apartment in the Fontvieille district of the principality.

As well as lower cost property, Andorra has the added advantage over Monaco of lower closing costs – while Monaco is in double digits Andorra’s is around six per cent.

One of the reasons for Monaco’s soaring property prices has been the lack of new buildings and properties in recent years. Although some new building is currently taking place, the apartments will be for Monaco citizens rather than incoming residents, ensuring key workers can live as well as work in their home country.

A new island is planned to be built off Monte Carlo which will add housing stock for new residents, but this could be as much as ten year before it is ready.

The tax benefits of Andorra compare very well Monaco, with private banking, income and inheritance tax at zero, security and privacy achieved for high net worth individuals in both.

Buying a property in Andorra is often seen as a route to residency, which entitles people to live in Andorra and benefit from her tax haven status. Many potential buyers stay in one of the hotels in Andorra while on a property inspection trip.

To obtain residency in Andorra, applications need to be submitted in Catalan. A notarised copy of the applicants passport, birth certificate and a certificate of good conduct from the home country are submitted at the same time. According to local travel guide YourAndorra.com residency normally takes between three and six months to be approved.

Once residency is granted, residents are supposed to spend six months a year in Andorra, but this isn’t policed.

One of the drawbacks for those looking to become a resident in a tax haven when considering Andorra has been that the country has no airport of its own, and is unlikely to have ine future given that it is located in the Pyrenees. The nearest airports are Barcelona and Toulouse.

Recent improvements in the road from Barcelona to Andorra though have cut the travelling time by some thirty minutes to two hours fifteen minutes from Barcelona airport to Andorra’s capital, Andorra la Vella.

Stay safe in Barcelona!

A lot of tourists are heading to mainland Europe, visiting cities such as Barcelona, Rome and Paris as opposed to the previously more popular destinations on the coast. However, you must stay safe when abroad, as there are a lot of risks of going to big cities like these, namely crime. Here are some tips to help you avoid pick-pocketing in these major places:

• Wear your normal clothes, to avoid ‘standing out’. There are a lot of tourists that go about wearing football shirts or other branded goods – these simply identify you as an easy target.
• Keep maps and guidebooks out of sight. These again will identify you as a tourist, and if you have bought some Barcelona tickets for a football match, keep these concealed.
• Wear your bag on your front. Known as a ‘bum bag’ in the UK or a ‘fanny pack’ in the USA, this allows you to keep your belongings safer by having them in full sight as opposed to on your back.
• Avoid physical contact. Some people might “accidentally” bump into you whilst slipping a hand into your pocket or handbag. A lot of collisions will probably be very innocent and accidental, but be wary anyway.
• Avoid street games. Many of these will appear entertaining, but some will just be a con or set up to attract your attention whilst people eye up your belongings.
• Don’t carry all your belongings around with you at the same time. Just carry as little cash as possible, with a little more in case of emergencies. Using your credit card can be the most secure method because if you lose it then you can ring your bank and cancel it immediately.
• Avoid using public transport. When possible, book the trip with your travel operator as you will be surrounded by other tourists and also have a guaranteed way of getting to and from your destination.

Getting To Torrevieja From Alicante

Alicante, Spain is one of the most popular destinations for travelers to the Costa Blanca region. It is situated along the beautiful coast of the Mediterranean Sea in southern Spain with the cities of Benidorm to its north and Torrevieja to its south. Whether you are visiting for business or pleasure, traveling to Alicante should not be difficult.

The best way to reach Alicante is by air and, fortunately, it has its own airport. The El Altet International Airport is only six miles from downtown Alicante. In addition to flights from various foreign countries, there are also daily flights from other cities in Spain such as Madrid and Barcelona. Once you are at the airport, there is transportation available to help you reach your final destination in the city. If you are looking for a train, though, you should know that there is no train connection at the airport. But, considering the airport is only six miles from downtown, you can use one of the many taxis outside of the airport, the bus or a car hire company. Be sure to make an advance reservation for car hire services, as they will pick you up from the airport.

If not flying directly into the Alicante airport, you may also reach Alicante city limits by train or bus. The train system known as the tram and trenet can also take you to some of the smaller surrounding towns, including as Denia, Altea and Benidorm. Motor buses service the outlying areas to connect Alicante to the smaller towns. There is also a ferry from Algeria which will bring you into the city of Alicante. You can book the ferry through Romeu to Oran or Alegeria. Though this may be an interesting experience, it is not the most reliable method of reaching Alicante due to the potential for service interruptions at any given time.

Once you are inside the city limits of Alicante, you will find that walking is a sufficient way to get around the city due to its small size. However, taxis and the bus are available as well as car hire services if you prefer. Travelers requiring an overnight stay should have no difficulty finding appropriate accommodations. There are many hotels in the business district offering views of both the mountains on the west and the sea on the east. You can also find resorts along the beach, which are also close to the city.

Political complexities in Catalonia

For an American student going to study Spanish for a year in Barcelona, imagine my surprise when I entered the airport and saw a language other than Spanish guiding me in BOLD to the baggage claim. Of course, I knew that Catalan was prominent in Barcelona. After all, Barcelona is the capital city of the Catalonia region. I had no idea, however, just how close I would become with the Catalan identity while I lived in Spain.

Catalonia is one of Spain’s 17 pricipalities. Due to the diverse heritage of the country from various historical conquests, Spain’s rich culture boasts 4 official languages, belonging to the 4 nationalities of Spain whom mostly reside in their own principalities: Galician (Galicia), Basque (Basque Country), Catalan (Catalonia), and Castillian Spanish (throughout the country). Varying opinions range through the country in regard to the officiality of these 4 languages and the political connotations that they carry. For example, Basques and Catalans generally hold a more independent attitude which can even range to separatist movements in some sectors. The notorious terrorist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) hails from Basque Country and fights for Basque separation. Galicians, however, are not known for carrying independent political tendencies. Allow me to point out, however, that not all Catalans or Basques affiliiate with separatist or terrorist groups, either.

Traditionally, Catalans and Madrilenos hold a common political and cultural grudge against each other. The grudge originally stems from the conquest of the Catalans and their rich port of Barcelona in 1714 by Spanish military rule. During the rule of dictator General Francisco Franco from 1939-1975, Catalan culture and language was repressed and an underground movement of secretly teaching Catalan identity evolved. With the death of Franco in 1975, Catalan language was once again taught in school and a renaissance of modern Catalan pride publicly emerged. Today, the grudge still remains on the economic and political levels. Barcelona still generates more revenue than most of the rest of Spain, but relinquishes much of the wealth to socialist Spain’s Madrid government for redistribution to build infrastructure in more needy provinces.

I was fortunate enough to find housing in a flat with three other girls on Calle Balmes -all of whom were Catalan. One girl was from the Costa Brava in a small tourist town called Malgrat de Mar. Another hailed from the southern Catalan villa of

Car Hire From Reus (Tarragona) Airport

There’s a lot more to Reus and Tarragona Airport than simply being a gateway for budget airlines into Barcelona. Tarragonna boasts an excellent selection of attractions in its own right. Hiring a car in Tarragona not only allows you to spend some time in the city, but also provides you with easy access to the wonderful and fantastical city of Barcelona. The following is a guide to the sights and delights of Tarragona and its beautiful environs.

Tarragona Mini Guide:

Reus (Tarragona) Airport is situated 3km from the Spanish city of Reus, 13km from Tarragona and 80km south of Barcelona. The airport is served by a number of airlines including Iberia Airlines and budget airline, Ryanair.

Things To See/Do in Tarragona:

The Catalonian province of Tarragona is located in eastern Spain, about one and a half hour’s drive from Barcelona.

Tarragona is the principal city of Spain’s Costa Dorada sunshine holiday resort and thus offers a wide variety of local beaches and secluded coves to choose from.

The city itself offers a number of fascinating historical and cultural attractions to explore. Drama queens should check out the beautiful and ancient Amfiteatre Romá, which overlooks the sea close to the Rambla Nova, while thrifty history fans should head to The Archaeological Museum at Placa del Rei 5 on Tuesdays, when the museum is open to the public for free. The Museu Diocesá at Tarragona’s cathedral offers an impressive collection of Catalán paintings and is definitely one for the arty set.

If you’ve decided to hire a car, it’s well worth making a drive outside of the city to Museu Necrópolis, which is recognised as one of Spain’s most important ancient Christian burial sites and dates back to the 300AD.

Eating Out/Nightlife/Accommodation in Tarragona:

Given Tarragona’s coastal location, it’s not surprising that fish and seafood are top of the menu. Special seafood restaurants include: Bahia and Cal Joan, located at Port Esportiu. Cheap and cheerful local Tapas is available from most bars and cafés around the Rambla Nova area, where you can also sample the region’s local wine. Cheap eats are also guaranteed at the city’s selection of pizzerias and Italian restaurants.

Tarragona is home to many festivals during the year and the town is famous for its Catalonian version of the human pyramid championships, which usually take place in late summer. Nightlife in Terragona ranges from laid back and easy-going cafés and bars like El Candil, to buzzing nightclubs located at the port area.

Tarragona offers a wide selection of accommodation, ranging from luxury hotels and apartments to budget B&Bs and guesthouses catering for those looking for thrifty lodgings. Those who are looking to pay less for their night’s sleep should check into Catalunya Express, situated at General Contreras 16, where comfort is guaranteed at a low cost. Husa Imperial Tarraco offers luxury and sea views, as well as fine dining at its Alborada restaurant. The hotel is located at Passeig De Les Palmeres-a scenic area known as the “Balcony on the Mediterranean.”

Alcudia: Great for Walking and Driving Holidays

If you’re thinking of taking a holiday to Majorca, you’re likely imagining large crowds of tourists soaking up the sun during the day and partying the night away in the island’s best clubs. However, choose instead to visit Majorca’s northern town of Alcudia and you’ll experience a Majorca that’s a world away from the hectic resorts of the south. Its sparkling sea and historic town centre provide tourists with a range of delights – whether you choose to spend your time walking around the peaceful streets of Alcudia or exploring its surrounding areas in a rented car.

Alcudia boasts a six-mile long coast, and its crystal clear waters and stunning sandy beaches mean that sunbathing is naturally a popular pastime for holidaymakers in the town. However, many visitors to Alcudia choose to spend their time walking through its historic old town. The narrow streets of Alcudia’s inner-walled town are serene and tranquil and its pedestrianized areas are home to some beautiful squares in which you’ll be able to find places to eat and drink. Alcudia’s old town also plays host to a market every week, so you’ll be able to pick up a few bargains on your travels as well.

Alternatively, take a walk down to the Port D’alcduia, from which you’ll be able to take boat trips around parts of the island and catch daily ferries to Menorca and Barcelona. Here, holidaymakers will also be able to find some high quality shops in which to buy local porcelain, jewellery and other items. What’s more, you’ll be able to find secluded coves north of Alcudia’s town walls that provide perfect opportunities for snorkelling or sunbathing away from the beaten track.

If you’re keen to hire a car in Alcudia, you’ll be able to explore the town’s surrounding areas with ease. For instance, take the ten minute drive south along Alcudia’s beach and into Playa de Muro, where you’ll be able to visit S’Albufera. S’Albufera is a nature reserve that is popular with bird-spotters, and can provide some much-needed relaxation from the busier beaches of the town. You’ll also be able to drive to the Roman town of Pollentia, which lies just outside the town walls, and visit the smallest Roman Amphitheatre in Spain.

So whether you decide to spend your holiday in Alcudia walking along its peaceful historic streets or driving along its breathtaking coastal spots, you can rest assured that this town will provide you with a Majorcan holiday experience that’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of the south!

UK’s Tory Tax Plans Could Hit Tax Havens

With a General Election possibly just four weeks away, the British Conservative Party is producing policy reviews that could be adopted for their manifesto – and should they win ultimately become part of a new administration’s legislative programme.

One such review looks at taxation, and proposals include cutting bureaucracy and saving British business some 14 billion Sterling a year, while the review considers changes in the tax structure.

Part of this review, co-chaired by former Cabinet Minister and Welsh Minister John Redwood, proposes abolishing inheritance tax.

Inheritance tax is increasingly an issue for Britain’s middle classes as property rises have risen significantly in recent years, and with the current threshold of 300,000 Sterling more and more people are having to pay inheritance tax, with popular newspapers such as the Daily Mail regularly running stories about how ordinary people are being caught up with the tax, especially in southern England where even a three bedroom semi detached house is often over 300,000. Treasury figures however indicate that only one will in twenty is in excess of 300,000 in the United Kingdom as a whole. The overall impression with large parts of the electorate though is that the threshold should be raised before inheritance tax is due on an estate – making any proposal such as the Conservative Party’s one to abolish inheritance tax altogether a popular one beyond the number of people it will directly affect.

If the Conservatives were to win the next British General Election, one UK company who specialises in tax haven properties says that it could affect property prices in both Andorra and Monaco, and the number of UK citizens taking residency in one of Europe’s top two tax havens.

‘Inheritance tax is a motivator for some people looking for a tax haven’, they say, ‘Some UK residents who have a property worth a million pounds and more want to try and leave that and their other assets to their children, and not to the taxman. It’s not a significant number – perhaps ten per cent of our clients have this motivation – but should inheritance tax be abolished it would be enough to slow the property markets for tax havens. Andorra would be affected more than Monaco. People in their seventies with a million or two would be able to afford two bedroom apartment in Monaco, while in Andorra they could buy a house with mountain views for less – and Andorra has the same tax benefits as Monaco pretty much.’

With a new airport due to be opened in three years time fifteen minutes from Andorra, cutting the current travel time from Barcelona Airport two and a half hours away, the Andorra property market could see higher prices in the year or two ahead.

‘Given that the main beneficaries of the abolition of inheritance tax are around 5 per cent of the population, it might on the surface look like a vote winner, but it’s unlikely to affect the overall result dramatically. A lot of the five per cent are in the South-East of England, and while the Conservatives might win some seats back from the Liberal Party, it’s hardly traditional Labour territory, so any extra votes isn’t going to change the General Election result’, they add, concluding that ‘If inheritance tax was a real motivator for the five per cent who fall within the category of rich enough to pay it, we would count our UK clients interested in Andorra and Monaco in the tens of thousands instead of the thousands. For us the Tory proposals might highlight inheritance tax as an issue, but they haven’t explained where they would tax to make up the deficit the Treasury would have from the abolition of inheritance tax – leaving the charge open to Labour that the Conservatives would cut public services such as pensions or the National Health Service.’

‘The general consensus among our clients is that even if the Conservatives were to win and confound the pollsters, they would maintain and possibly increase spending at current rates, and neither Labour or the Conservatives are talking seriously of being a tax cutting party, so the likelihood is that taxes in the UK for the better off will be rising in the short and medium term, and they are making plans now.’

For Brits considering taking residency in Andorra applications need to be submitted in Catalan. A notarised copy of the applicants passport, birth certificate and a certificate of good conduct from the home country are submitted at the same time, residency normally takes between three and six months to be approved, so some planning ahead is needed to take full advantage of Andorra’s tax haven status. Once residency is granted, residents are supposed to spend six months a year in Andorra, but this isn’t policed.

Andorra has very similar fiscal benefits as Monaco, but property prices are around a quarter of Monaco’s. Property prices in Andorra have risen by an average of ten per cent a year over the last decade, with the last two years showing particularly impressive gains of 19 and 16 per cent, as more people, particularly from the UK, have moved to Andorra. Surprisingly perhaps for a tax haven, mortgages for a property are as available as many European countries, with rates around the same level. Up to eighty per cent of a property’s value is often agreed by the banks in Andorra.

For those Brits and other Europeans with the deepest pockets of all, Andorra’s rival Monaco has an image of glamour and sophistication the world over, and is famous for the Grand Prix around the streets of Monte Carlo. Both Monaco and Andorra seem set to gain from the UK’s main political parties tax policies.