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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Happy 40th Birthday Playa de las Américas

Playa de las Américas aerial view

For some, Playa de las Américas, is the concrete carbuncle stuck on the bottom of Tenerife. For others, it's just a good place to have a holiday with sun, sand, sea and everything else beginning with an "S". It's got sophisticated with 5 Star hotels and a golf course and, should mature now that the resort is celebrating its 40th Birthday.

Diario de Avisos tell us that the urbanization of Playa de las Américas was born in 1966, fruit of a partnership between the late Rafael Puig, his son Santiago and, Antonio Domínguez. In 1965, Luis Díaz de Losada, on Domínguez' orders, got in touch with Rafael Puig, a Catalán industrialist, with the object of seeking financing for the creation of a tourist center on land that Domínguez owned.

At first, recalled Santiago Puig, in an interview in 1986, "it seemed like a crazy idea". Only 20 years before, Playa de las Américas was virgin territory, without beaches, nor banana plantations, nor palms. Roads, water and electricity were nonexistent.

Why did they decide to go ahead and invest, despite this? The very same reason that the resort keeps on attracting holidaymakers - the marvelous climate. So, on June 21st, 1966, Playa de las Américas S.A. (S.A. is like Inc. or Ltd.) was formed.

The article also explains how the area, initially planned to cover 5,000,000 square meters, with a capacity for 50,000 hotel beds, was developed in stages.

The first and second phases, in the municipality of Adeje, started from where the hotel Gran Tinerfe is today and ran to the Barranco de Troya in the center of the resort. The third phase, in Arona, ran from Las Veronicas to the Hotel Europe, then on to Los Cristianos and was, finally, to extend from the motorway to Chayofa.

Plans were passed in 1971, but later 1,000,000 square meters were declassified. The idea was to build a Garden City in that last area, which, says Santiago Puig, "is an ideal area for it and very necessary in the present day."

In 1966 Adeje's annual budget was just 500,000 pesetas (3,000 Euros / £2,000 roughly), while the budget in Arona was 1,500,000 pesetas. Forty years later, thanks to tourism, the combined annual budget of these two councils is estimated to be around 24,000 million pesetas (144,000,000 euros / £96,000,000).

Image: Wouter Hagens [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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