Nerja is to ask for a local tradition to be classed as an important tourism event in the province of Málaga. The Belén (living nativity scene), staged every Christmas in the district known as Las Protegidas has become one of the town’s most important annual events.

It has grown every year and by Christmas 2019, the scene depicting the birth if Jesus involved over 100 figures, following preparations by around 2,000 others, in a major neighbourhood effort. All parties at the Town Hall have unanimously agreed to approach the provincial government, the Diputación, with a view to having the event formally recognised as Fiesta de Singularidad Turística Provincial.

The Town Council is also asking the regional government, the Junta de Andalucía, to declare the living nativity to be an event of “intangible cultural interest.” This follows a request for help from the Spanish Federation of such annual events which eventually wants the practice to be recognised as an important heritage event by UNESCO.