The Mayor of Encamp, Jordi Torres Arauz told all-andorra.com about the priorities for parish development and mentioned possible plans to sell their Grandvalira shares:
“Encamp is located in the center of Andorra and divided into two sectors: Encamp (1250 m above sea level with a population of 9,800 residents) and Pas de la Casa (2000 m above sea level with a population of about 2,500 residents).
The main benefit of our parish for tourists is that Encamp is “a gateway” to Grandvalira’s slopes, which form the largest ski resort in the Pyrenees. Coming from Spain, as well as from Andorra’s capital, the nearest point to get to Grandvalira’s ski slopes is via the Funicamp. It is interesting to note that, at 6 km, this is the longest cable car in Europe. It rises to a height of 2502 meters above sea level.
Coming from France, the nearest point to the ski slopes is Pas de la Casa: this sector is located on the France/Andorra border. So from the point of view of logistics, Encamp is the most convenient and popular parish for foreign ski tourists. This is why, during the five months of the ski season, the 70 odd hotels of Encamp are almost fully occupied.
There is now the possibility of building a international heliport in Andorra – its location is likely to be at the entrance to Encamp from Escaldes-Engordany parish, near the tunnel to La Massana. The Andorran government is still working on the details for this project. The heliport will contribute to a further increase in the number of tourists. Today, the principality attracts more than 8 million people per year.
The resort of Grandvalira, which is controlled by a consortium of two commercial companies – ENSISA and S. A. E. T. D. E. – currently has over 240 km of slopes. 51% of S. A. E. T. D. E. belongs to the Viladomat family and 34% to the municipality of Encamp and controls the sectors of Pas de la Casa, Grau Roig and Encamp. The remaining 15% is controlled by the other shareholders. 49% of ENSISA belongs to the bank Credit Andorra and 51% to the municipality of Canillo and controls the sectors of Soldeu, El Tarter and Canillo.
Of the 34% of Grandvalira’s shares controlled by Encamp’s administration, 25% is in a land concession with S. A. E. T. D. E. For this reason, it is quite difficult for us to negotiate the sale of all these shares, but it is possible. We do not have any concrete plans to sell them, but we are ready to discuss and analyze proposals from potential investors.
We continue to invest in the village infrastructure of Encamp and Pas de la Casa, including roads (except for national highways), the renovation of buildings, lighting, infrastructure in general as well as social services, culture and environmental events. This is what the administration (Comú) of Encamp is primarily responsible for. For the past 4 years, the administration of Encamp has spent more than 4 million euros on these projects. By 2017 we will have invested a total of 5 million euros.
There is no doubt that our main focus is sport tourism, as well as family vacations with kids. We regularly organize sports activities during the weekends, regardless of the season: football and rugby championships, as well as sports tournaments that include the participation of 5-6 teams. These take place every two weeks from May to October on our Prada de Moles sports ground.
Moreover, the Funicamp works not only in winter but also in summer. Summer tourists can jog along many mountain trails, practice climbing or ” via ferrata ” as well as fishing.
The parish of Encamp is also involved in cultural activities. More than 130 of our restaurants participate in food and wine festivals, which take place all over Andorra. We also organize national festivals: Carnival, the feast of Sant Antoni, the Festa Major, Christmas festivities.
Encamp’s central area consists of 4 districts: Vila, Les Bons, la Mosquera and el Tremat. Vila and Les Bons are residential districts. We know about the interest from the private sector to build luxury villages in these areas, but it is difficult to buy land here at a reasonable price. The owners of the land ask very high prices, so these projects are not cost-effective. Independently of that, we have municipal land, Cabeca, where we are going to have a luxury residential area, as well as commercial projects and hotels.
There are also some other commercial and industrial zones. One of the biggest is the Prat del Sal, where heavy industry’s facilities (construction materials) are located. Now we are going to industrialize our parish and are studying a new project to put a cogeneration plant at Pas de la Casa to produce hot water and electricity.
Finally, I would like to draw attention to one more piece of good news. This year, the international university of the Hospitality and Tourism Management, Vatel, has opened in Encamp. The program is designed to train future professionals in the management of international hotels (Bachelor’s degree Vatel – Manager in the international hotel industry). The duration of this program is 3 years. The group Vatel is present in 19 countries around the world. And now Andorra is also on the list”.