Benidorm is Spain´s third largest tourist destination – after Madrid and Barcelona and contributes 0.5% to the national GDP, which is a significant amount considering the size. However, surprisingly – or even shockingly, Benidorm is NOT officially classified as a "tourist destination".On Wednesday there was a meeting in the resort with all the key figures of tourism: Luisa Pastor – President of the Provincial Council of Alicante, Joaquin Albaladejo – Deputy Provincial Tourism Councillor, Antonio Mayor, President of HOSBEC – the Hoteliers Association and Benidorm representatives Agustin Navarro, Gema Amor and Leire Bilbao – the newly appointed Director of the Tourism Foundation.
Benidorm is a key attraction in Spain
However, it did not go smoothly and ended with Benidorm Mayor Agustin Navarro demanding the resignation of Albaladejo who he claims is neither prepared nor qualified to hold office and does not represent the interests of the tourism industry in the province. Benidorm are only allocated 40,000€ by the Provincial Council to promote the resort which is totally insufficient. Benidorm representatives gave an example how the "Habanera" in Torrevieja – a choir festival and competition which attracts 12,000 spectators was given 25,000€ funding whereas the 3 day "Low Cost Festival" in Benidorm, which attracts 75,000 was given NO funding! They have no issue with Torrevieja but need to get things into perspective.
A working lunch had been arranged but the Deputy Provincial Tourism Councillor refused to go, saying he was made to feel like an idiot as he was sat next to Gema Amor and Antonio Mayor – very mature! The Mayor, Agustin Navarro has demanded that he makes a public apology for his behavior and also resigns – as he clearly has a case of "Benidomitis" !
Fantastic August for Benidorm
The resort has just had a fantastic August, with hotel occupancy at 92.5%. The International sector has made up for the slump in domestic holiday makers, which saw a 6% drop in numbers due to a number of contributing factors. The financial climate is probably the most crucial factor but also this year, schools in Spain have gone back a good week earlier than previous years. The Brits have maintained the same figure overall but there is a surge in the number of Russian, Belgian, Dutch and Portugese visiting Benidorm this Summer.
Bars along Levante are busy
September is forecast to be good – with the return of Brits making up a significant percentage of the figure. The month of August is traditionally when the Spanish invade, many driving from the capital Madrid – so you should be able to find a parking space now they have all gone back! So far September has been unusually warm, with sea temperatures hitting 29 degrees – the highest recorded in the last 10 years so little relief from the sweltering heat.... But the bars along the Levante front will be delighted, as Brits flock to keeps cool with an ice cold pint of beer!