Administrative chaos in Arona

Photo, courtesy of Aquí Sur, of Playa de los Cristianos this morning after the sunbeds had been removed
Photo, courtesy of Aquí Sur, of Playa de los Cristianos this morning after the sunbeds had been removed

Update 29 November: Arona Ayuntamiento has once again put the contract for the sunbeds out to tender. The period for submissions is from today, 29 November, to 13 December. For anyone who might consider taking them on, sealed bid submissions are made via the Oficinas de Atencion Ciudadana del Ayuntamiento de Arona (SAC). Further information on the procedures, and assistance for those submitting tenders, are available as links at the bottom of the council’s page HERE.

Update 8 October: The lifeguards say that they have at last, this afternoon, received the supplies donated by Ashotel, in association with FuenteAlta, Grupo Hospitalario Quirón de Tenerife, MareNostrum and Mutua 2008. They wish to express their gratitude for the collaborative effort and hope that they will soon have their salaries. I’m sure everyone will wish to express gratitude for the lifeguards own continued efforts despite Arona’s despicable, shameful and inept handling of the situation.

Update 5 October: It really is quite unbelievable. Not only have the lifeguards still not been paid, but 2013’s summer has passed completely without sunbeds and parasols on Arona’s beaches. Moreover, the procedure to award the contract to another sunbed provider had last week almost come to an end when it was called to a halt and thrown out: journalists and anti-corruption investigators are crawling all over the council and yet someone still thought they could get away with a bit of backhanded information passing to hlp one of those submitting tenders. This was discovered, of course, and so it’s back to square one with the entire procedure.

Bad enough, you’d think, but no. Ashotel, the hotel association, made a donation to the lifeguards on Wednesday of essential medical supplies including first-aid kits and medications which should, by rights, have been supplied by the Ayuntamiento. There was no doubt an element of self-interest behind the act, but we can’t look gift horses in the mouth, and it served a dire need and should be applauded. The donation was handed personally to mayor Niño by the president of the association, Jorge Marichal, himself, and it would have been expected to find its way to the lifeguards immediately. It is, however, still not delivered despite publicity photos showing the handover being published the same day.

There is a Spanish word, sinvergüenza, which designates a scoundrel who has no shame. I can’t think of a better word to apply to Arona Ayuntamiento which has either confiscated or refused to deliver these supplies.

Update 3 September: And now, with summer over, and Arona mired in corruption cases left, right and centre, it gets yet worse. The Public Prosecutor has announced criminal proceedings against 15 Arona politicians – almost the entire cohort of Arona Ayuntamiento’s governing party is going to be in the dock for corruption. This is separate to the Court of Auditors investigation of public spending irregularities. It is also separate to the Caso Arona – all five or so separate actions which comprise the whole scandal. In what is, or should be, a coup de grâce to Arona’s leaders, 12 of the 13 members of the Coalición Canaria ruling group have been indicted, including ex-mayor  Reveron – who had to be forced out of office because of his own corruption proceedings – and current mayor Niño. The news has been broken by the scourge of corruption in Arona, Aquí Sur, from whom there is no doubt much more to come.

Update 5 July: The Tribunal de Cuentas is to investigate the so-called “economic black hole” of some €300,000 in Arona caused by the chaos in the contracts awarded for beach concessions (sunbeds, unbrellas, etc). It appears, now, that the three adjudications, which have brought virtually no money into Arona’s coffers during 2012 and 2013, were null and void from 2011 and renewed over the last two years in verbal form only.

The Tribunal de Cuentas is a national independent state supervisory body for the country’s economic administration, including the public sector. It appears that it will also look at Arona’s economic administration in general, in addition to investigating the particular problems surrounding the €300,000 deficit. Since José Antonio Reverón denounced the matter to the public prosecutor (as posted below on 17 June), there are now two formal investigations ongoing into Arona’s finances.

Update 1 July: The service company that has operated the sunbeds and umbrellas on Los Cristianos beach for a decade removed them this morning, as can be seen in the above photo from earlier today. Arona Ayuntamiento has been silent on the matter, so it remains speculative, but it appears that the Canarian Government has decided to enforce the multiple technical reports which showed the service on Arona beaches was illegal, and that the contractor, Nanelbrusco SL, has pre-empted the inevitable instruction to vacate. Today, Los Cristianos beach. One must presume that Troya and Las Vistas beaches will soon take on the same denuded appearance.

Update 17 June: And now, the sunbed issue is in the Courts. Councillor José Antonio Reverón (not the former mayor, who is José Alberto González Reverón) had just finished testifying in the Caso Arona (the latest in which scandal saw some 20-odd senior Arona Ayuntamiento officials have their corruption case trials confirmed and their appeals rejected just the other day), when he put what we might call the sunbeds case in the hands of the public prosecutor with a denuncia for corruption. Some are now just totting up the numbers of corruption cases in the Courts involving the Arona authorities. The sunbeds case is now popularly known as Caso Arona 5 …

Update 14 June: And so it continues. After sectioning off a part of the beach for private sunbed users, a move that subsequently saw rapid backtracking amidst allegations that the sunbed concession had repeatedly been deemed illegal, it now seems that this summer will find Arona’s Los Cristianos and Troya beaches without any sunbeds or umbrellas at all.

Apart from the questionable contracts, it appears that no money has been coming in to the council from the concession for over a year, leaving a financial hole in the council’s coffers of, in total when all services are taken into account, around €2,000,000. Moreover, the Ayuntamiento’s General Secretary confirmed that when the current contract expired – at the beginning of 2012 – the contract required the sunbeds to be removed.

The municipal legal chief says that the whole thing must now be put out to public tender according to recognized procedures, and insisted that the council brings to an end the current “irregular situation”, a situation evidenced by numerous reports issued since early 2011. With just a week or so now to go before the summer period formally starts, the chaos on Arona’s beaches shows no sign of improving. If anything, it is just getting worse and worse.

Update 29 April: Is Arona to be condemned for ever to live in the shadow of incompetence and maybe even worse? After the fiasco of the sectioned-off beach for the concessiary to exploit, it now appears that the contracting service of the Ayuntamiento has warned the environment department at least 26 times that, on the basis of technical reports, seasonal services on Los Cristianos and Troya beaches, and the sunbed concession on Playa de las Vistas, should be suspended because they are being run illegally. A report from the municipal Contratación service dated 25 March is categorical: “Since 7 February 2011 there have been 26 warnings that there is no legal basis for the provision of such unauthorized services and they should be ordered to be suspended”. And of course the lifguards …

What does it take … ?

Update 18 April: It seems that the Ayuntamiento is having second thoughts about putting up notices about “exclusive use” of parts of Playa de las Vistas because they are “rather aggressive”. Concejal de Medio Ambiente, Antonio Sosa, said that the council was now seeking alternatives to the notices, but not to the rule itself, because “that is specified in the conditions drawn up by the Ayuntamiento”. While announcing this, Sr Sosa also confirmed that his department had spoken with the Dept of Costas: it was a formal matter, he said, to which a solution is being sought. Why do I get the distinct feeling that Arona has overstepped the mark here, and that it’s more than just an issue about “notices”?

Original post 17 April: Arona Ayuntamiento has reserved a section of Playa de las Vistas for those who want to hire sunbeds and sun umbrellas from the resident concessionary company. The general public will no longer be able to use it without paying for a sunbed, and anyone who just wants to put down a towel will have to use the non-reserved part of the beach. These areas are expected to become rather packed in the height of summer, and criticism of the council’s move is widespread.

Despite such criticism, however, signs in both Spanish and English will soon bear witness to the privileged section reserved for those who are prepared to pay for sunbeds, and expressly prohibit leaving a towel or other belongings on the beach. Arona says the service is profitable, raising 1.3 million Euros a year for the concession less just 110,000 paid to Costas. That’s good for the council, of course, but not so good for the many people who actually want to use the beaches without being charged for the privilege.


  1. I thought that all beaches in Spain/Tenerife were available free of charge for anybody to use. Can they really do this? I suppose the fact that they are doing it answers my own question.

  2. Author

    I suppose the answer is that the public is still allowed on the beach, so there’s no restriction of access generally … apart from to a part just for those prepared to pay for exclusivity. I suspect there’s much more of this sort of thing on the way …

  3. I begin to wonder if Tenerife wants tourists, holiday makers come to Tenerife for the sun and wonderful beaches, how long before all the other beaches follow suit.

  4. Author

    Certainly Arona’s attitude to its tourists could be said to be ambiguous …

  5. If only they’d put as much thought in to getting the Lifeguards paid !!!

  6. Is this the very plan that Arona sort to pay the lifeguards?

    I’ve not seen these areas set out on the beach but if they are the same as always, where the umbrellas and the sunbeds are why would someone what to sit inbetween them anyhow?

    I can’t see this having fors and against to residents or tourist, IMO having an small exclusive zone for anyone willing to pay is an innovative idea.

    I will not use a paid area because I’m than happy with my own towel and umbrella.

  7. Correctiom. Want to sit in between them anyhow

  8. I think this law doesn’t imply that it will be forbidden to sit between the people on reserved sunbeds, rather that they don’t want people sitting in front of them (blocking the seaview).

  9. Author

    I don’t think so, DM. News reports are saying “El Ayuntamiento de Arona ha acotado zonas específicas para el “uso exclusivo” de los clientes o usuarios que alquilan las hamacas y sombrillas en la playa de Las Vistas, con lo que se prohíbe dejar la toalla y otros enseres en estas áreas, ” – specific areas set apart for the exclusive use of sunbed etc clients, … it will be prohibited to leave towels and other belongings in these areas.

  10. Author

    I commented on it last night … I do think there’s more to this than meets the eye …

  11. Hi Janet,

    What is going on in Tenerife? do the idiots in the Govt and the Councils want Tourists. I have just returned home following a month in my apt which I have explained is totally geared up for Tourists but can not get a licence, the complex was deserted even the school holiday week we had only 8 out of 63 apts occupied our bar has closed & we have lost about 8 members of staff. I have never in over 20 years seen the roads, bars & restaurants so quite, now the beaches in the major tourist areas are not going to be serviced it is crazy. I feel very sorry for the local people who still do not understand why nobody is coming here on holiday & why they now find themselves unemployed because of these actions.
    I have spoken to local businessmen who have now seen what the Govt actions are doing & they fear it will take 5 YEARS to repair the damage & worry that they have lost Tourists who will NEVER come back to this Island because it is Tenerife that has felt the weight of these unjust actions.
    Instead of fining us & complaining about us not paying taxes, which some of us do, they should be giving us assistance & tax incentives because of the THOUSANDS of Tourists we USED to send & who used to Spend Millions of Euros here

  12. It’s not just Tenerife I fear. We were over in our apartment in April and although the complex was fairly busy it wasn’t heaving. Just returned from a week in Playa Del Ingles, Gran Canaria and the complex we stayed at there was very quiet despite being in the middle of the main tourist resort on the island! Walking round some areas in the day it was like a ghost town. If it wasn’t for us ever faithful gay tourists who flock there all year round the place would be totally deserted. Such a shame as The Canaries for a lot of people used to be where they would always go…..not any more!

  13. Author

    They believe that by going upmarket they can achieve more money for less expense on infrastrucutre, and that by close control, they can impose their vision. This, in a world where the public, in their masses, choose what to do for themselves, without control …
    It is insane. I’ve always said it was insane. All that one can do is hope they’re right. I don’t think they are, but I hope to god I’m wrong!

  14. The whole islamd is croocked,you really couldmt write this

  15. How lucky we are that 2 years ago we bought a house in Adeje. Our Lawyer says that Adeje is the best-run area of Tenerife. We had no legal problems at all in buying a house on a residential complex and intend to keep it and use it for a very long time (family only).

  16. Just read that the sunbeds removed from Los Cristianos are on their way to Fuerteventura, not sure where they will end up, but we have just bought 20 ‘new’ blue ones for our complex . . .

  17. PS For info, it is the Court of Auditors, whose powers include looking into public spending irregularities.

  18. You Know when my wife & I bought our ” 2nd ” home in the sun 13 years ago when the Govt enjoyed ” US ” foreigners spending all our money in their Country & people like the Hotel Cartel & Bent Councils did not have the POWER they have now Tenerife this was a fantastic Island.

    Now I say you REAP what you SOW, I along with many owners I know can not wait to get our money out out this CORRUPT Country.
    ” Their ” Touristic figures, Tourism is on the UP & we all know how “figures” can be manipulated, & if they think the Russians are going to be there saviour, believe ME NOW having put up with THEM for the last 5 years GOD HELP YOU.

    An Island paradise ruined By BUREAUCRACY & CORRUPTION.

  19. Oooooh couldn’t have put it better myself I Don’t Believe It! Well said. It is one of the most corrupt places I’ve ever known. We certainly wouldn’t dream of spending our later years in life there now. I’d rather stay in the UK and visit occasionally. Haven’t got a clue where their touristic figures come from either because if you ask most bar owners how business is they give the usual response…….”quiet, dead, etc” and you walk past places almost empty who sell beers for 1 euro! Tenerife going upmarket…….never happen in a million years!

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