The summer hols are upon us. We shall pack our bags (or our hand-luggage if we are travelling with one of the cheapies) and jet away to somewhere warm, where we shall get drunk, have a brief romance, buy a souvenir, punch someone and be sick in a flowerbed. Perhaps we shall look wistfully at a property if there’s a rainy day, or discover to our surprise that the holiday business has become an industry.
Spain is no exception.
Ludicrous newspapers like The Express are always full of stories about why readers shouldn’t be holidaying here for one reason or another: whether it’s a limit to six drinks a day in the all-inclusive hotel, the ignominy of having to queue in the Non-EU line at the airport or the bar-staff that can’t understand you when you ask for a bacon sarnie.
The Spanish probably couldn’t care less what The Express thinks, short of a few small hoteliers who are worried that anyone is going to change their mind because of some inflammatory article about Etias visas and decide to stay for two weeks in Southend instead.
Meanwhile, Easyjet and other airlines cancel large numbers of flights from the UK for some reason or other. More queues, more anger, less time around the pool.
There are several issues of slightly more weight that worry the Brit tourist, such as the 90 / 180 day deal in the Schengen Zone, and the agony of whether a resident can use a British driving licence (both subjects sublimely ignoring the self-inflicted punch of Brexit).
Some of Spain’s destinations are crashing out of the tourist stakes – such as La Manga, which overlooks the Mar Menor: now a dying lagoon. Under extreme threat too from illegal wells is El Parque Nacional de Doñana in Cádiz.
So, tourism changes: it diversifies and it evolves. Now we read that the second kind of tourism, what might be called city-visitors – is facing a crisis as China considers halting all Chinese holidays abroad. They may not be much for bucket and spade tourism, but they do appreciate a flying visit to Madrid, Granada and Barcelona to see the sights.
Better news comes from Germany, where the travel agencies are mooting the idea of sending their senior citizens en masse to Spain for the winter months to save on energy (a sensitive topic in Germany at the moment). If Spain tuned in, they could convert some of their abandoned villages into merry North European retirement centres (and get funding to pay for it).