Your article highlighting the fact that a weekend break in a top Marbella hotel costs more than the London equivalent was not a surprise. Its amazing how businesses and individuals seem unable to see the obvious even when it stares them in the face. Many British customers who in the past took package holidays in Spanish hotels are the very same people who have purchased holiday homes or even moved to Spain permanently. Obviously they plus their friends and families no longer need to stay in Hotels.
While the French and German economies remain in the doldrums there has been a slow down in consumer spending in the UK. As many people come to terms with their high levels of debt they are spending less and when they do spend want best value. Low cost air fares and the internet have made it easier for consumers to make price value comparisons and to visit places they may never have considered in the past.
Friends of ours in the UK are currently looking at or have actually bought second homes in Croatia and Morocco where the infrastructure is rapidly being enhanced, the locals really value the new business and the prices are much lower than Spain.
Despite these obvious and clear signs developers continue to build on the Spanish coast like there is no tomorrow while many finished apartments and houses stand empty. Existing house owners still expect to sell their homes at the highest prices and when they cant do that they expect to be able to rent them out to cover the cost of their mortgages. Where do they think the high paying buyers and tenants will come from?
There is an old sales adage that the market fixes the price and time and again it has been shown that if you create a price umbrella then some newcomer to the market will find a way to come in under it.
Wake up Costa del Sol. The climate and terrain are just like Southern California, so start giving American style service levels where you exceed customer expectations. Clean up the piles of building materials and rubbish in the streets on the roads and countryside. Continue to root out the corrupt politicians, developers, lawyers and police but above all trim your costs, prices and profit expectations. Do this and the word will spread, Costa del Crime will become Costa del Value and customers will return so this part of the world that we all love will continue to prosper.
Jim Hicks MBE
Dear Edwin, Belinda and Richard, you produce a very clear, well designed easy to read magazine with a down to earth editorial style plus good content, keep up the good work!