Pedro Zaragoza



The mecca of mass tourism, Benidorm would never have been an economic success without the visionary contribution of Pedro?Zaragoza, mayor of the city during seventeen years (1950-1967). This city in Alicante left behind its impoverished situation to become a profitable company – currently, after London and Paris, it is the European city with more overnight stays – and an urban planning laboratory that grew at a dizzying speed under the auspices of the first PGOU?(general urban plan) on Spanish territory in 1956. In this plan, Zaragoza relied on density, high-rise and public space to absorb the growing number of tourists that, aside from economic profits, also altered the demure habits of a Francoist Spain of Catholic tradition. Allowing the use of the bikini in the city beaches in 1952 almost got him excommunicated, but a trip by moped all the way to the Dictator’s residence avoided that. When he left office, he took up several important posts in the administration, and when he finally retired he started studying law and, paradoxically, the ‘inventor’ of mass tourism also graduated from the School of Tourism.

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