Spain, a magnet for immigrants and tourists but a smoking fuse for residents

There are over 300,000 British immigrants living in Spain, another million or so who own property here who pop back, and forth and last year over 80 million tourists visited her shores. Spain is now the second most visited country in the world. What attracts them and do the Spanish appreciate this relentless invasion?

Climate, cost and ease of accessibility plus great beaches, a rich seam of monuments and incredible landscapes are strong attractions that when compared with other destinations make Spain the go to place for retirement or holiday.

For the same reason Canadians flock to Florida, the rest of Europe come to Spain. The weather is awesome. Living costs are low, especially booze and food and there are cheap flights all year round and for most its only a two hour journey . For the young, the night life is sexy and boisterous. Its affordable and safe for family holidays with loads to do that appeal to all ages. I could go on but if voting with feet is a strong indicator of quality, 80 M people can’t be wrong.

However, among Spaniards there is a growing antipathy against such mass tourism.. The capitalists appreciate the money, but can afford not to live where the visitors tend to accumulate. Those residents that are not so well off are growing to resent having their space and tranquillity ruined by sheer numbers and unruly drunken behaviour. What can they do about it?

The most affected areas such as Mallorca, Canary islands, Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca have introduced byelaws to control yobbish antisocial behaviour. Some are charging hotels extra taxes for cleaning up the mess which is putting up prices which in turn is deterring some visitors.

Hurrah, shout many. Good riddance say others, less is more whisper the discerning. The reality is that increased prices are the only way to reduce the numbers. Legislation will never deter folks from letting their hair down on holiday.

I’ve lived and worked here since 1992, my parents since 1976. I’ve traveled nearly every highway. In many ways Spain is unrecognizable compared with the timber shacks on the beach and liters of ice-cold beer for less than a pound sterling. But the principle is the same. Low cost travel, cheap booze and guaranteed weather. Nothing will make a serious dent in the continuing annual escape to the sun. Not even Brexit will change the British love affair with Spain. 17 million came last year. If only 16 million come this, materially it won’t matter. It’s still hell of a lot. and the Spanish will be a lot happier if the drunks stayed at home.

Life will go on.

Leave a comment