Spain's Smurf village dodges tourism blues
Alex Dunham · 30 Jul 2013, 10:58
Published: 30 Jul 2013 10:58 GMT+02:00
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It was meant to be a short-lived publicity stunt for the Spanish premiere of The Smurfs in 3D movie in 2011.
But little did the 250 inhabitants of this sleepy village in southern Spain know that it would turn out to be a long-lasting money-making scheme.
"Since we had the paint job done, we’ve had around 210,000 tourists coming to visit our village," Júzcar mayor David Fernández told ABC News.
Two years ago, Sony Pictures chose Júzcar, near Malaga, as the centre of an ingenious publicity scheme which led the film’s producers to have all the village buildings painted “smurf” blue.
They promised to restore Júzcar’s white-washed look again once the publicity stunt was over, but the locals had already cottoned on to the benefits of drawing in visitors from outside.
"El pueblo pitufo" , the Smurfs' village, has attracted droves of cash-wielding Smurf fans over the last couple of years and has recently been hosting events for the Hollywood sequel Smurfs Part Two.
The locals have even had high-profile guests like Barcelona and Spain football star Andrés Iniesta pay them a visit.
"There have been some complaints from people who have said we've lost our traditional white-coloured village," Fernández told ABC News.
But with a regional unemployment rate of 35 percent and little work in the agricultural sector, it’s no wonder Júzcar residents voted overwhelmingly to continue to be the Smurfs' village.