Former Huddersfield gymnast and pub landlord Brian Hayhurst and his wife Elaine are ex-pats who have lived just outside Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol for 20 years. He writes every fortnight for Huddersfield Hub.

There is, without doubt, an air of optimism here on the Costa del Sol as tourists continue to flood in.

And this is before Easter (Semana Santa – Holy Week) starting next week, when more holidaymakers with families will come to enjoy the beaches and growing number of attractions and facilities.

Confidence is particularly evident with high end property estate agents trying to satisfy the enormous demand for villas and exclusive properties, especially in the Marbella region.

Also, entrepreneurs, big companies and town halls are launching several new innovations for visitors and residents to savour.

One such project announced last week is the taking back by the Mijas Town Hall of the once extremely popular – Hipodromo racecourse.

Many who lived here in the early 2000s will have fond memories of the horse racing there. The council signed a historic agreement to end the six-year bankruptcy of a company who failed to make a success of a showjumping and equestrian venture.

It’s bewildering why it took so long to sort it out. And it will be interesting to see which political party will take on this massive undertaking after next month’s local elections.

Currently the entire site (pictured above) is derelict, vandalised and boarded up and what remains of the track is overgrown.

The Hipodromo, situated on a hilltop overlooking Fuengirola and Mijas, was operated at night in summer and through the day each weekend between 1999 and 2013, offering spectacular race meetings which we, and thousands of other revellers from all along the coast, experienced.

It was a well-run event with food outlets and bars, some with live music. Before it opened Elaine and I enquired what was needed to take on one of the outlets but they were all spoken for.

READ MORE: Catch up on Brian’s previous blogs HERE

In its heyday the venue attracted several top bands and entertainers including Rod Stewart and Elton John with sell out audiences soaking up the warm evenings in a fun-filled arena.

The council here is proposing to create a sports project, adding to the athletics with tartan track and horse riding for disabled etc, which are still operating.

Another major project that Marbella has announced is a massive skate park which, they boast, will be the largest in Anadalucia with facilities for BMX bikes, roller bladers and scooters. How much busier can Marbella get? Oh! How UK youngsters would wallow in this!

One of the most popular tourist sites in Southern Spain is the Caminito del Rey (Kings walkway) which is likely to be even busier with the introduction this week of a frequent direct rail link with Malaga.

The seven-day service to the famous – and rather frightening – El Chorro gorge walkway will cost €7.30 for a round trip and can carry up to 30,000 passengers per year. That’s us (above) on a family trip there.

Meanwhile, there are some real concerns throughout Spain for the country’s olive crop, much in demand worldwide.

The recent drought conditions have reduced crops by almost 50%. If the harvest season this year is dry again it could bring disaster for some farmers. Drought and water saving education should be publicised now, I think.

And as most towns and villages are gearing up for the most important week of the year – Easter – there is still a desperate countrywide shortage of staff to help cater for the thousands of visitors and residents during this holy week.

This staffing problem is caused by the stringent social security and employment requirements which could result in huge fines.