Benidorm claws back popularity as a British expat retiree and tourist hub

Published:  4 Jul at 6 PM
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Tagged: UK, England
After several years of decline in popularity with British expats, Benidorm is reasserting itself as a favourite Spanish destination.

Once the all-time winner as regards British expatriates arriving to work, play or retire, Benidorm had slumped in the popularity polls from 2012’s 83,000 plus before creeping back to 2017’s slightly improved figure. The 2018 totals increased again, although only by around 300 incomers, but it’s a start. Also, the figures refer to officially registered expatriates, with pundits believing many more expat residents are still unregistered in spite of the Brexit threat.

Nowadays, expats account for more than 33 per cent of the region’s total population, with the majority choosing to settle in the coastal resorts with their long-established expatriate communities. Another good sign for Benidorm is that, in spite of the negative fake news issuing from various tabloid newspapers, the city’s hotel sector occupancy figures are roughly similar to last year’s at 89.6 occupancy in June. British tourists, including those looking to check out the resort as an escape hatch from Brexit doom and gloom, are still making up the largest ethnic group of arrivals in Benidorm at 43 per cent of the market share. Factoring in the 41 per cent share of Spanish domestic tourists, the total is great news for the coastal city.

The resort has come in for what many say is unfair criticism from local UK tabloid media outlets, sparking fears that tourist and new-arrival expat numbers might well be negatively affected. One unwanted focus on Benidorm’s problems was the vast amount of new developments and renovation of existing buildings blighting certain areas of the city. In an unpopular decision for many hoteliers as well as bar and restaurant owners, local government heads have decided to allow developers to continue working through until the end of August, a period which is usually construction-free by decree. The decision has upset major players in the sector, as their regional fund grants depend on adhering to established completion deadline dates.
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