2012 is unquestionably a very special year for San Sebastian as a tourist destination. Five of its major features will enjoy their Centenaries: Maria Cristina Hotel, Victoria Eugenia Theatre, the Pearl of the Ocean, the Mount Igeldo Funicular Railway and “the Topo”, San Sebastian’s suburban railway system, saw the light for the first time in 1912, giving our city the boost it needed to become the favoured summer destination for the tourist crème de la crème.
In the early 20th century, San Sebastian realised that it would have to equip itself with some excellent infrastructures if it was to compete in the tourist arena. Or at least that was the opinion of a group of illustrious locals, members of the Club Cantábrico, who predicted a fruitful tourist future for the city. This Club, formed by leading players in the local economy, was the breeding ground for San Sebastian’s Development Agency, the Sociedad de Fomento, the first undertakings of which were to get the bullring up and running and to construct a theatre and a grand hotel.
The results of the Agency members’ enterprising input and enthusiasm soon made itself felt: all five buildings and railways were launched in 1912, improving the quality of San Sebastian to such an extent that it became one of the favourite destinations for the most demanding of tourists. Thanks to the efforts made by the Sociedad de Fomento to modernise the city, San Sebastian’s already existing rich tourist tradition was propelled to the forefront of international tourism.