Andorra la Vella invites private investors to participate in major projects such as a casino, said the Consul of Andorra La Vella, Conxita Marsol

Conxita Marsol

The Consul of Andorra la Vella Conxita Marsol told what kind of changes will occur within the capital of Andorra (Pyrenees) in the next few years, which aim to make it more comfortable, interesting and economically attractive both for tourists and for residents:

“The number of Andorra la Vella´s visitors is growing rapidly from year to year. And this happens not only in the winter during the high ski season, but also in summer. Obviously, the most popular summer month of this year was July due to the world’s most important sports event. From 10th to 12th July one of the stages of the Tour de France took place in Andorra. According to official statistics these types of events are the third most popular in terms of spectators, with the Olympic games and football World Cup coming first and second respectively.

The Cirque du Soleil tour was an equally important reason to visit Andorra in July (tickets in the stalls were free of charge). Due to the popularity of the show, which has been held in the Principality for four years now, the decision to build a new arena covering 6,000 sq m has been made. According to the Andorran government’s plans, all large-scale events, including music festivals, will be regularly organized there from now on. One of the discussed locations for the construction is a piece of land in Santa Coloma.

The organization of the Tour de France stage and the Cirque du Soleil tour are rather expensive events. The budget of the Tour de France amounted to 800000€, the budget of Cirque du Soleil (the tour was from 2nd to 30th July) was about 2700000€. But for Andorra in general and for its capital in particular, both of these events are extremely important for its image. We have proved once again to the world that Andorra is a country which is willing to organize the most spectacular cultural and sporting events at the highest level.

If we are to speak about long-term investment projects in Andorra la Vella, I could mention the Aqua Park private project – it will be implemented in 2-3 years by an investor from Russia. This September, the Andorra La Vella administration and the Government of Andorra plan to revisit the project of the construction of the cableway from the centre of Andorra La Vella to the top pic de Carroi, which then, at the second stage of the project would be connected to Vallnord ski resort. This project of national importance is quite expensive, and obviously, it will require private investments, including foreign ones. And finally, the long-awaited project regarding the construction of a casino; as far as I know, there are several offers from private investors and the government should be making their final decision soon.

In the short term, we plan to open a new bus station to travel to Barcelona (SpainCatalonia), Toulouse (France, Occitania), Lleida, Madrid, and Zaragoza as well as to some of Spain and Portugal’s sea resorts. The bus station will be opened in October this year. We also plan to finish a project on a new office building for the ministry of Justice in the area of Prat de la Creu which includes a large underground car park as well as a new office building named the “Cloud” for Andorra Telecom.

Creating infrastructure for railway transportation in Andorra is not planned yet. Speaking about the major infrastructure projects I could mention the construction of heliports: the site will be located in the district of Encamp, near Escaldes-Engordany. But, as far as I know, the final decision is still pending.

Next year we intend to spend about 1 million euros on improving the capital´s central street – Avenguda de Meritxell – to make it more convenient for tourists which may even include a new pedestrian area. The first step has been made: since July 10th (the date the Tour de France arrived in Andorra) from noon until midnight a part of the street from the shopping centre Illa to the square with “Salvador Dali clock” was closed for cars and public transport. So during that time it became a completely pedestrian zone.

In addition, we want to install the latest technology for lighting building facades, which will use maximum illumination. Over the next two years we plan to renovate the facades of buildings that are in need of it. Now we are negotiating with the private owners of these buildings who will have to invest in these improvements with their own funds. In addition to repairs, a large-scale job to warm and waterproof buildings in order to save thermal energy is also planned.

There are also two projects in the cultural sphere: the opening of the state Museum of romantic art in Santa Coloma (near the church) and the opening of a private interactive Museum of Jorge Lorenzo, the champion of MOTO GP (next to the “Pyrenees” shopping complex). In addition to collections and exhibitions associated with major historical events and famous figures from MOTO GP and Formula 1, the Museum will include a sports shop and an ultra-modern gym. The opening is planned to be held in two to three months’ time. This project is important internationally, and I would say that the presence of such a museum will allow Andorra la Vella to become a capital of motorsports.

Among our priorities I would also like to mention business tourism development. For the moment we have planned three large conferences for next year: we will hold an international Congress of real estate agencies, which will be attended by 2000 people (May 2017); Congress of the International Federation of Motorcycling (October 2017) and the Congress of parliamentarians from Europe and the United States, which will be attended by over 300 people.

This September, we will hold a working group meeting which will include the presence of the Ministers of education of Ibero-American countries. Ministers of education or senior representatives of General Secretariat of Ibero-American states will also meet in Andorra. This event is also very important for our image, and we plan to hold as many prestigious events in Andorra as possible.

Speaking about real estate prices in the capital of Andorra, I would say that they vary depending on the specific area in question. The most prestigious areas are the city centre, particularly the shopping street Avinguda de Meritxell, the Park hotel and the French Embassy areas. The district of Santa Coloma is less expensive. The cost of 1 sq m of housing there ranges from 3000€ to 5000€. Rental of a commercial property can reach 10000€ per month per square metre– but the higher values are generally those including commercial and office space on the Avinguda de Meritxell.

It is important to recall that currently, in 2016, Andorra la Vella is the capital of the Ibero-American culture. We have used this fact to promote Andorran culture. On the 23rd-24th June, the shortest night of the year, Andorra la Vella celebrates the Day of St. John which is also called “a feast of fire”. This year the feast held in Andorra la Vella was recognised as being a UNESCO festival.

All these projects will allow the capital of Andorra to change beyond recognition within 2-3 years. As a consul, I would like to see Andorra la Vella not only become strong in terms of modern economic and tourism capital, but also become more interesting and attractive for tourists and for residents.

Andrew Winer

See also Andorra hotels

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See also Andorra travel guide

See also Pyrenees travel guide

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See also Spain travel guide

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