The clock is ticking
It has just about been 450 days since the referendum vote, when the UK voted to leave the European Union, and only another 560 until Brexit, which takes place on March 29, 2019… there is even a countdown clock, showing days, hours, minutes and seconds, available on Google!
Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission President, has already called for a summit in Romania to take place on March 30, 2019 – the first day of an EU with 27 members instead of the current 28… until Turkey join, who are chomping at the bit to get into the ‘club’. But all is not well there – the EU are tak- ing legal proceedings against Poland and Hungary for refusing to take in a single asylum seeker and the Czech Republic, who only accepted a dozen, since Germany’s Angela Merkel opened the flood gates and created an immigration tsunami.
This is precisely the reason many Brits voted to leave the EU – the unsustainable migrant crisis which is at breaking point in the UK. It is wrong to say those who voted leave are racist as many British immigrants also voted for Brexit. Many of those arriving by boat are obviously economic migrants, initially the destination was either Greece or Italy, but now the Spanish shores are regularly witnessing overcrowded boats washing up on the Costas. Arrivals in Spain have rocketed by 60 per cent this year alone and most are young males, travelling alone which opens up an entire host of issues relating to terrorism, very high on the current agenda across Europe.
For us expats living here, what does the future hold? – it’s the million dollar question. All that British pensioners can say with certainty is that their pensions have shrunk with the spiralling exchange rate. Will we see parity this year? Very possibly.
I have spoken to many who have said that they would certainly need to reconsider if they could afford to continue living here if the exchange remains weak. The cost of holidays here to Benidorm will also be far more expensive and travel forums are already full of remarks that hotels prices have rocketed considerably for next year, leading many to seek alternative destinations, which offer better value for money.
Both Turkey and Bulgaria appear to be offering far more competitive prices, which would be disastrous for our economy here. Benidorm is sustained primarily by the tourism industry. Hotels, of which there are hundreds, cannot survive without the British, who outnumber any and every nationality by miles. Granted August is Spanish month, when domestic tourists from the cities flock here but they do not spend the money. I have heard many stories how they will sit in a club for the entire evening and share, yes share, a drink between two.
It is the many Brits who predominantly visit the bars and clubs along Calle Gerona and in The Square, spending an absolute fortune in them. Still more appear to be opening, hoping to cash in, but the reality is the well will eventually run dry.
The tourism sector needs to continue promoting itself across the UK to remain prominent in people’s minds but instead, it is looking at other marginal markets such as India!
There is a business delegation of agents from India here, organized by the Valencian tourist agency. They are being shown the likes of the Melia Villaitana and Asia Gardens hotel complexes to host business trips - that is great, but one thing is certain, they will not be interested in popping down to the Rincon to go clubbing, or partying with the stag and hen groups so prolific every weekend. Yes, the rowdy ones who cause problems on flights with their drunken behaviour are not so kindly looked upon, even by their fellow passengers. However, sadly, it must be said that they are a necessary evil for many businesses here. The airline industry need to jointly address drinking alcohol on flights, for starters it is a safety issue. But will it happen? – Realistically, profits dictate it won’t in my opinion.