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Before the global recession in 2008, Alicante city experienced rapid growth, making it one of Spain's fastest-growing cities. This growth was partly driven by tourism, particularly to the Costa Blanca's beaches, and a surge in second residence construction that began in the 1960s and was revitalised in the late 1990s. The city's economy also thrived due to its service sector, manufacturing, research, technology and public administration.
However, the construction boom raised significant environmental concerns, leading to scrutiny from the European Union. Public debates among politicians and citizens ensued, with one notable issue being the Port Authority of Alicante's plans to build an industrial estate on reclaimed coastal land, violating local, national, and European regulations.
Alicante is home to the European Union Intellectual Property Office, with a substantial population of European public workers residing in the city. The University of Alicante's campus is located in San Vicente del Raspeig, bordering the city's north, and boasts an enrollment of a large number of students.
From 2005 to 2012, Alicante was the base for Ciudad de la Luz (Ciutat de la Llum), one of Europe's largest film studios. It was used for the production of both Spanish and international films, including "Asterix at the Olympic Games" and "Manolete." However, it was forced to close in 2012 due to violations of European competition law.
In summary, Alicante city's economy is multifaceted, with tourism, trade and transportation, real estate, financial services, agriculture, and services playing crucial roles. Its strategic location on the Mediterranean coast, vibrant cultural scene, and growing focus on technology and innovation continue to drive economic growth and development in the region.