View Full Version : Finance Benidoom! Once a fave with Brits, now it’s on its knees

30-07-2012, 11:31
reading this,things dont seem quite as bad here now does it?

Benidoom! Once a fave with Brits, now it’s on its knees

IT’S just after 7pm and the streets are still clammy with heat as a few tourists stroll along in their shorts.

It’s one of those moments that should make you feel happy to be overseas during the summer holidays.

But as the sun sets on this once-booming Mediterranean resort, there is something else clogging the humid air.

Benidorm — once a byword for sun-tanned Brits enjoying the year-round sunshine — is fast becoming a pit of depression and despair.

With the Spanish economy in freefall, the dream of a life abroad has turned into a nightmare for many expats.

When The Sun visited the resort last week, we found scores of British-owned businesses boarded up, deserted nightclubs and beaches full of empty sun loungers.

Many expats who made Benidorm their home are fleeing the debt-ridden city. And many of those left behind are plotting their escape. One Geordie bar worker, who asked not to be named, told us: “We came here to live the dream. But this is not the Benidorm I moved to six years ago.

“Now I call it Benidoom. It’s less a case of ‘Wish you were here’ and more ‘I wish I wasn’t here’.”

Benidorm was once Europe’s most popular holiday resort. Known as the Manhattan of Spain because of the towering skyscraper hotels that line the beach, it was a lucrative jewel in the heart of the sun-drenched Costa Blanca.

Today, the city is still packed with all-inclusive hotels, bars and restaurants, many serving typical British fare such as fish and chips.But tourism has fallen off a cliff in the past three years.

A state-backed survey showed the number of Brit holidaymakers — who make up the bulk of Benidorm’s visitors — was down 12.9 per cent in April compared to the same time last year. And Ryanair’s decision to cancel many of their flights to Alicante, the nearest airport, in a row over fees is expected to result in 1.5million fewer tourists on the Costa Blanca this year.

Brian Deans, 49, who runs the beachside Ace Of Spades bar, described Benidorm as “jumping” when he arrived nine years ago.

He said: “People still come here thinking they are going to be living the dream but it’s not like that any more.

“I’ve stopped opening my bar in the evening because there are zero customers then.

“But I’m not going home. I’m from Dundee and there’s nothing for me there.

“I’m lucky, as I have some regular customers who come here during the day. A Scottish bar opened up around the corner nine months ago — and he quit after just five months.

“Things are only going to get worse as the government just put up taxes on small businesses.

“Crime is on the rise, too. My bar has been burgled three times this year already and more tourists are being mugged.”

The British Foreign Office has warned gangs are also targeting British-registration cars, pretending to be in distress then robbing people who stop to help.

On top of those problems, local landlords are raising rents. Liverpudlian barmaid Elsie Taylor, 38, said: “The average bar worker can barely get by now. My rent is relatively low, about 350 euros, but I can barely keep my head above water. My hours keep getting cut plus the tax has gone up, so food is getting more expensive.”

Not everyone is so downhearted. Stripper Lisa Taylor, 31, from Blackpool, said: “It is quiet around here now but I’m sure it’s going to get better.” But most expats fear things will get tougher, as the Spanish government plans desperate measures to tackle the nation’s soaring unemployment and debt. The country is braced for 27billion euros of budget cuts this year.

And Spain is forecast to be the only member of the Eurozone that will remain in recession in 2013.

The problems have been blamed on irresponsible overspending during the construction boom that saw foreigners flock to the country.

The autonomous region of Valencia — which includes Benidorm — was one of the worst offenders, running up debts totalling 24billion euros.

In Benidorm, half-completed skyscrapers line the beach, abandoned by over-ambitious developers who ran out of money. The Gran Magic resort, for instance, was supposed to be a five-star hotel with 30 bars and an ice rink on top. Instead, it is an eyesore of concrete and exposed brick and metal beams.

Further up the beach stands what was supposed to become the tallest apartment complex in Europe. But while work continues on the structure, there is no sign it will be completed any time soon.

It may be peak holiday season but streets normally packed with revellers are almost empty as desperate reps offer free shots to tempt the few customers into bars.

Even Morgan’s Tavern, better known as Neptunes Bar in hit ITV1 comedy Benidorm, is all but deserted, with a lonely karaoke singer belting out tunes.

Barmaid Mikkala Parkhurst, 22, originally from Weymouth, said: “I’ve lived here since I was ten but I’ve had enough. I’m moving back to England next week. Most of my friends have already gone.

“I never thought I’d say this, but I can’t wait to leave.”

source : http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/4461800/Benidoom-Spanish-resort-is-on-its-knees.html

meanwhile......the recession deepens

A meeting between US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and the German finance minister has boosted hopes of imminent action on the eurozone crisis.

The pair expressed confidence in the eurozone's reform efforts and emphasised the need for coordination.

Mr Geithner met Wolfgang Schaeuble ahead of a meeting with European Central Bank head Mario Draghi.

Markets rose across Europe on anticipation of measures to tackle Spain and Italy's high borrowing costs.

Mr Geithner also discussed the crisis with French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici by phone, the AFP news agency reported.

Spain's Ibex closed 2.8% higher, the FTSE 100 rose 1.2% and Germany's Dax jumped 1.3%.

Mr Schaeuble interrupted his holiday for the informal meeting which was held on the German North Sea island of Sylt - a luxurious resort for wealthy Germans.

They "emphasised the need for ongoing international co-operation and coordination to achieve sustainable public finances, reduce global macroeconomic imbalances, and restore growth," a joint statement said.

The two men also "expressed confidence in euro area member states' efforts to reform and move towards greater integration".

The timing of these meetings, just three day's ahead of Thursday when the ECB will announce its latest decision on interest rates, has added to speculation that it may also announce that it is restarting its bond-buying programme, known as the Securities Markets Programme (SMP).

The SMP, which was suspended at the end of January, enables the ECB to buy government debt from banks helping to reduce the cost of borrowing for governments.

In recent days, European leaders have pledged to act in support of the eurozone.

Eurogroup leader Jean-Claude Juncker joined in late on Sunday when he called for action to cut Spain's debt costs.

"We will work in close agreement with the ECB, and we will, as ECB President Mario Draghi said, see results.

"I don't want to drive expectations, but I must say, we have reached a decisive phase," Mr Juncker said in interviews with German and French press.
Cheaper borrowing

Mr Juncker also referred to agreements at the last European Union summit regarding the European bailout fund, the EFSF.

Under the EFSF's constitution, the fund is permitted to buy government bonds on the primary market, effectively lending directly to indebted governments such as Spain.

This is important because the European Central Bank's constitution prevents it from lending money directly to governments.

It is now hoped that co-ordinated action between the ECB and the EFSF would be more effective in bringing down the borrowing costs of countries such as Spain and Italy.

Meanwhile, Italy paid a lower rate of interest at a bond auction to raise 5.48bn euros (4.2bn).

Italy's bond auction saw it offload its 10-year bonds at an interest rate of 5.96%, the first time it has sold them below 6% since April.

However, Richard McGuire, a rate strategist at Rabobank, said the interest rate Italy was paying to sell its debt was still too high.

"While these sales do provide some indication of an easing of tensions at the periphery, they also show considerable further progress on this front is needed," Mr McGuire added.

And Spain's 10-year borrowing costs dropped again on Monday to 6.6% from last week's record high of 7.5%, reflecting a slight improvement in investor confidence.

However, Commerzbank rate strategist Rainer Guntermann cautioned that the market rally may not continue.

"Expectations are high... but for the rally to continue we may need more colour, more details and maybe some action," said Mr Guntermann.

The fall in bond yields, came despite official data which showed that Spain's economy shrank 0.4% in the second quarter of the year.

That compares with a 0.3% contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) in the first three months of the year.

The national statistics institute INE, which published the figures, said the worsening GDP figures reflected "weaker domestic demand".

Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19044333

30-07-2012, 13:58
just been a big article on bbc radio 2 they are saying that basically all inclusive deals are destroying the local economy. But a local dj from cool.fm are saying that the Sun reporter came to Benidorm with an agenda to destroy its reputation.

31-07-2012, 11:58
Very one sided really that article, I have a friend who works for Thomson and is currently based in Benidorm, he says although numbers are slightly down this year compared to last, it's still very busy and the flights to Alicante are full.

The main difference is the fact a vast majority of holiday makers are now going on all inclusive deals, so the local bars and restaurants are suffering, which is why so many Brits who owned or worked in bars out there are obviously packing up. It's a shame really as until people start spending money at local businesses, the resorts will not benefit, only the hotel owners running the all inclusive deals.