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Francisco Salado: Our channels are open to permanently listen to residents

Francisco Salado: Our channels are open to permanently listen to residents

Interview with the Mayor of Rincón de la Victoria in Spain

José Francisco Salado (1965, Rincón de la Victoria) has been the mayor of his native town, Rincón de la Victoria, since 2017, having previously served as a Councillor of various departments, among which Town Planning, Finances, Local Police and Culture. By profession, he is a lawyer, having worked in the consultancy firm F&F Salado (1990-1997), of which he was a founder. In addition, since 2019 he is presiding over the Malaga Province Government as well as the Costa del Sol Tourism Board.

Mr Mayor, how would you describe Rincón de la Victoria in your words?

It's wrong for me to say it, but Rincón de la Victoria is the best place to live. We have eight kilometres of beach, perfect terrain for practising sports, delicious gastronomy and a cultural heritage worthy of the best cities. More and more people choose it as a city to stay and start a family and that clearly means something. Actually, all of us who live in Malaga Province are privileged. It offers everything to those who live in it and to the visitors: nature, leisure, gastronomy, culture, monuments ...

Your municipality is known for its caves. Can you tell us a little more about them?

Of course. The first thing people should know is that our Cueva del Tesoro (Treasure Cave) is unique in Europe. There are only three of its type in the whole world. It is a cavity of marine origin and you can only find others of this type in Asia and Central America. It is a lovely place to visit with family or friends. It will not leave anyone indifferent, because in its caverns we can learn about our historical heritage and learn about the many legends it contains.

The Cueva del Tesoro is the jewel in the crown of Rincón de la Victoria, but soon we will also open to the public the Cueva de La Victoria, located a few meters from the Cueva del Tesoro in an environment of high historical value since for millennia it has been the scene in which ancient inhabitants have coexisted and where different cultures have passed through. Cueva de La Victoria was a popular Neolithic burial cavity. Some 13 000 years ago the silhouettes of various individuals were depicted in one of its galleries. Without a doubt, it is very worthwhile to come to Rincón de la Victoria and visit our caves.

How has your city faced the challenges of the Covid pandemic?

We continue to work tirelessly to combat the coronavirus and its effects in our city. From the first moment, we made every effort to prevent the spread and to alleviate the economic effects on our businesses. Aid has been given to the self-employed and companies, taxes have been eliminated, the most vulnerable families have been helped and in 2021 we will continue in this line with the most social budgets in our history.

We have demonstrated an enormous consensus among all political forces by taking decisions, which anticipated even those made by the National Government. Our priority is our neighbours and each of our actions have been taken with them in mind.

What measures is your administration taking to mitigate the social and economic effects of the pandemic?

From the first day, we got down to work to alleviate the damage of the pandemic. We created the Plan Reactiva Rincón padded with significant funds to counteract the damage to the most vulnerable families and the different economic sectors. It was an agreement resulting from the consensus among all political forces, where we put aside our differences to focus on what is important - the citizen.

The Reactiva Plan has investments of 4.9 million euros, 1.7 million in COVID expenses, 300 000 euros in social aid, plus another 400 000 in promoting areas and 400 000 in aid to businesses. Now, we are going to get some consumer bonds with which we help businesses and the citizens themselves. Without a doubt, the 2020 and 2021 budgets are aimed at recovering the pulse of the city after the pandemic.

Let's talk about recognition. Please describe the importance of the Award for Best Tourist Destination on the Coast in October 2020 and what initiatives helped to receive this award?

It is undoubtedly a source of pride because this award recognizes the effort that we have been making in the City Council for years to place Rincón de la Victoria in the spotlight of visitors and tourists. It is continuous, and often silent, work that has paid off in what was a difficult summer. It has been the worst summer in our lives, but Rincón de la Victoria had a high level of visitors and occupancy – exceeding the rate of 60%.

The national tourists have remained faithful. We made an effort to ensure the safety of our guests. In addition to all the strengths that we have as a destination, we had prepared ourselves thoroughly with a strategic plan with various specific programs for beaches and tourism, with measures such as capacity control, specific cleaning, COVID analysis of beaches and sand, lifeguard services and vigilance ... But one of the most applauded services has been the perfect maintenance of the toilets on the beaches, as we had a person disinfecting after each time a beachgoer used the facility.

Your administration publishes surveys on the official website to get the opinion of citizens on various issues. Have the results of these surveys been used to inform certain policies or decisions?

Transparency and Citizen Participation matter for our Government Team. We are working on it in order to give our neighbours the greatest possible weight in decision-making. We carried out participatory budgets in 2019 that we are still developing and in which the residents were the ones who decided the measures to adopt in our city.

Our channels are open to permanently listen to residents, as well as our Social Networks. Also, as a mayor, I answer questions once a month on the municipal radio. Our goal is to continue counting on the voice of the residents for future projects and we have enabled a specific area on our website for that.

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