Weekly Report”

Business over Tapas (N.º 501)

Business over Tapas (N.º 501)

  • A digest of this week's Spanish financial, political and social news aimed primarily at Foreign Property Owners: Prepared by Lenox Napier. Consultant: José Antonio Sierra

domingo 23 de julio de 2023, 00:46h

22JUL23 – MADRID.- For subscriptions and other information about this site, go to businessovertapas.com email: [email protected] ***Now with Facebook Page (Like!)***Note: Underlined words or phrases are links to the Internet. Right click and press 'Control' on your keyboard to access. Business over Tapas and its writers are not responsible for unauthorised copying or other improper use of this material. Subscription and e-mail information in our archives is never released to third parties.


Tourism is doing well again – with around 12% of Spain’s GDP coming from that business. It provides jobs, and income and perhaps some pride for Spaniards in the many cultural, culinary and geographical offers this wonderful country can boast.

Mind you, most of them are here for the sun-burn, the evening boozing and the odd summer romance.

And the endless selfies which are then uploaded to Facebook.

It’s not that we particularly like tourists: the queues, the jibber-jabber, the crowded restaurant, the full parking-lot, the foreigner in the supermarket who is not wearing a tee-shirt and the other one being sick in the municipal gardens – it’s the knowledge that they’re spending lavishly and, better still, that they’ll be gone in a week or two.

Not that all of them spend wisely – some don’t even use our hotels, preferring to doss down with friends or family. Others come along in their camper-vans or maybe rent an apartment from a family who doesn’t even own a hotel.

Contrast this with Residential Tourism – with no promotion, no agency, no ministry, no budget and no wealthy hoteliers to defend it. This form of tourism (of course, it’s not tourism at all, it’s really homesteading) also has a high – if largely unknown – value for Spain. They buy an ice cream or a bottle of lotion or a china ornament. We buy a house and a car and white goods, and we shovel money into the outstretched hands of the lawyers, insurance agents, gestores, doctors and (above all) barmen – all year long.

A couple of years ago, there wasn’t much tourism, thanks to the dreadful pandemic. Maybe next time, it’ll be something as simple as a cheaper offer elsewhere, or a war, or a cholera outbreak, or new visa-requirements, or a silly headline in the Daily Mail, or because Vox won the elections in Spain…

But you know something? We Residential Tourists will remain here and steadily grow in numbers, bringing Spain a massive and reliable income each year.

Perhaps one day somebody will notice.


Returning to residential tourism, Murcia Plaza says that ‘we will only be the best destination to visit if we become the best place to live’. There are, it says optimistically, five hundred million European potential investors just a couple of hours away by plane, looking for the best place to enjoy the Mediterranean life-style, and Murcia can’t be left behind. The article rails against the ecologists who are opposed to our destiny and says ‘the future for our coast isn’t the summer holiday-maker, but the European residential tourist’. And in Murcia, says the piece, there’s plenty of room. Valencia Plaza has a similar view, saying that 5% of the GDP for the region (it says – 6,000 million euros per year) comes from residential tourism. It creates lots of jobs, and stimulates other industries such as the tourist, the commercial and the leisure businesses.

Skiing slightly off-piste, we could add that from the young man who makes do in a cardboard hut near the plastic farms to the successful fellow who lives on a hill outside Benhavís, we are something over five and a half million strong. Call us what you will: immigrants, ex-pats, guiris, extranjeros, foreign settlers, homesteaders or even, if you must, residential tourists.


An article from El Mundo considers tourism. "Sol y playa continues to be a great strength, but unlike the old days, it is no longer sufficient by itself for the quality tourism that we seek" opines an expert. The article quotes a hotelier as warning of “the serious threat that the lack of control in the proliferation of tourist-housing represents for destinations” and another worries about “the enormous challenges in the medium term, such as the possible obsolescence of the great pioneering coastal destinations, the saturation of some destinations or, in the longer term, climate change". The article ends with the programs on tourism from the four leading parties.

Britons' Favourite Travel Destinations. ‘Following a 75 percent drop in outbound travel by UK citizens in 2020 and an even worse 2021 when just 19 million Britons ventured outside the UK, international tourism rapidly rebounded in 2022. With 71 million visits abroad, outbound travel from UK citizens was at roughly the same level as 2014 last year. … In 2022, 15.6 million UK citizens travelled to Spain, making it by far the most popular destination for British travellers, who have been known to enjoy a cold cerveza under the Iberian sun..’ An item from Statista here.


From Público here: ‘Spain reaches positive economic records while the right speaks of an economy in crisis. The data featured in the fourth economic power of the euro-zone shows a panorama of records in GDP, employment and tax revenue just three years after the historic puncture associated with the pandemic’. From La Razón here: ‘Why is Sánchez lying about the Spanish economy? The president knows that the data does not support him, but he must constantly repeat that Spain "goes like a bomb" to present itself as the great manager that he is not’. There are articles to suit all tastes on the subject on Spain’s economic strength or weakness (depending usually on political taste). Here’s one from El Economista: ‘Public institutions and private analysts agree that the Spanish economy will grow by more than 2% this year, which would be a significant slowdown compared to 2022, but leaves out of the forecasts the possibility of recession that some experts did not rule out less than a year ago. The strength of the labour market, the recovery of international tourism and the development of European funds will sustain economic growth, with the forecast that household consumption will also recover to some extent throughout the year, shrunk by high prices and tougher financial conditions, as a result of the progressive rise in interest rates’.

Most importantly though, says VozPópuli here – the Big Six banks are all doing well.


General Elections this Sunday July 23rd.

A second TV debate, this time between the spokespeople for the seven leading parties (including the PNV, ERC and EH Bildu), was held last Thursday night – this time properly managed by the RTVE. The details are here. Certainly, the standard was higher, everyone had a chance to speak and the monitor for Channel One did a competent job says Público here. A final debate between three of the four main candidates – Feijóo says he won’t be going – was planned for Wednesday (to)night, also with the national television. Feijóo’s excuse for his absence was a scheduling issue – he was booked for a meeting in the Canaries, but the hazardous fire in La Palma there means his meeting has been cancelled. So, have you changed your mind about skipping Wednesday’s debate, Alberto? El Mundo valiantly tries to comfort Feijóo with their Wednesday headline: ‘Concern in the PSOE because the absence of Feijóo means that Sánchez has more to lose than he does to win: It seems like the debate of the losers’. We’ll watch it later…

BBC News brings us ‘Spain's hot summer election: A simple guide’ (Thanks David).

Some of the Old Guard from the PSOE, besides Felipe Gonzalez and Alfonso Guerra, are arguing – one way or another – in favour of Feijóo’s program over Pedro Sánchez (who has never been a favourite with some of the previous socialist politicians). elDiario.es mentions Carlos Solchaga, Joaquín Almunia and Juan Alberto Belloch as all being lukewarm towards Sánchez. A strong defender of the embattled leader, however, is another one-time PSOE president, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

From elDiario.es here: ‘The PP certifies its alliance with Vox in two regions – Valencia and Extremadura – while Feijóo tries to dissociate himself from Abascal before the general elections this Sunday. Under the premise of achieving a large enough majority that would allow him to govern alone, the PP leader tries to ignore the agreements made with Abascal's party’. Feijóo claims that the two regional PP presidents Carlos Mazón and María Guardiola are/were responsible for the pacts with Vox says Público here.

From The Guardian here: ‘Spain’s election is a key battle in the Europe-wide struggle against neo-fascism’, writes Gordon Brown. He says – ‘If the bloc of rightist parties ends up ahead of Sánchez, the near-50-year political taboo against neo-fascist parties in power will be broken. Vox will have moved from a gang of backstreet demagogues to the Spanish cabinet room, creating a political earthquake that will be felt right across the continent in the year of Spain’s presidency of the European Union…’

As the campaigning enters the final week, the lofty tone (hah!) of the criticism has dropped. Much has been made, for example, of the photo of Feijóo with a notorious narco-trafficker called Marcial Dorado (the picture was taken back in 1995). Here’s a newly posted attack from 2013, a video from the parliament of the Xunta de Galicia where Feijóo was president (2009 – 2022). The story hasn’t died down. Yolanda Díaz was even asking in a campaign meeting this week for Feijóo ‘to explain to the families of a lost generation of young people who died from drugs, what relation he had with Marcial Dorado’. Politico brings us the story in English here. The one-time relationship with the drug-smuggler has certainly been thrown about with abandon. Gosh - one has to be so careful these days with who one spends any time with. A key-remark from some Facebook source is worth a point though… imagine what the media would have done if that was Pablo Iglesias in the photo instead of Feijóo.

From Nation.Cymru here: ‘Yolanda Díaz, the Galician-speaking communist who has become Spain’s most popular politician’.

A point from elDiario.es here – at least Pedro Sánchez and Yolanda Díaz talk frankly about their forthcoming alliance, whereas neither the PP nor Vox have anything to say about their own inevitable alliance – in the event that they win…


From EFE here: ‘The Vox candidate Santiago Abascal stated on Tuesday this week that, if he governs with the PP, he has "no doubt" that tensions will return to Catalonia and that there could be "worse" situations there than in 2017’.


'Mi Carpeta Ciudadana’ ('My Citizen’s Folder') now allows you to check up on your clinical history from your mobile, says Xataka. This is how you can do it. The Carpeta Ciudadana is a free and official app that can be downloaded and carries useful info, contacts and services (with video).

The weather is on everybody’s minds – how much longer can this heat continue? El Tiempo says that the high temperatures should fall slightly from Thursday, but next week could well warm up again…


‘Journalism’, says The American Press Institute, ‘is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information. It is also the product of these activities’. However, as we know, it is also the spreading of news (and entertainment) filtered through the political and commercial leaning of the publisher. The same item can be told one way, or another, or displayed prominently or dropped entirely. Público looks at the fall-out from the recent two-way televised debate between Sánchez and Feijóo: ‘From the lack of moderation to the absence of verification of the contents. Lies and populism were the winners, and with it, journalism was the loser. Although what happened the night of the electoral debate was rather the end point or the tip of the iceberg of what journalism has been these years: a factory of disinformation, bathed in false rigor, where what weighs more are the faces and how they tell it than what they might be saying…’. Juan Luis Cebrián (wiki), the founder and first editor of El País, says at Crónica Libre: “Politicians have always tried to sneak lies past the journalists, but what is happening now is more serious. There are journalists that are prepared to sneak lies to their readers”.

El Plural reports that there’s a fuss because a journalist for the RTVE called Silvia Intxaurrondo caught out Feijóo on some of his ‘facts’ during a televised interview at La Hora de La 1. He was claiming that pensions always rose with the PP and she says: not in 2012, 2013 and 2016 (and also not this year). Her job is to ask questions, not get into a debate says Rajoy’s ex-foreign minister José Manuel García-Margallo (he later backtracked when he was, he says, made fully aware of the details). From the fart-right Libertad Digital here: ‘Stupor at the unusual conduct of an RTVE journalist who turned the interview with Feijóo into a debate’. In answer to a criticism from another senior PP baron, Esteban González Pons, ‘At RTVE, we are professional journalists’, says Xabier Fortes here (video). Later, The Press Association of Madrid (APM) also criticised the reviews in a notice here.

Alberto Núñez Feijóo said later ‘I don’t lie. If I get things wrong, it’s simply an inaccuracy’.

An article from the far-left Ctxt (Pablo Iglesias is a regular contributor) here: ‘Vote for Sumar’. The leader of Podemos, Ione Belarra, was with Sumar’s Yolanda Dáz together on stage at a campaign meeting in Pamplona on Monday, with the same message. The feud, if ever there was one, is clearly over.

The Twitter account for the Generalitat Valenciana will now only be in Spanish (despite the fact that Valencia is officially bilingual).

The leading right-wing digital news-sources, according to Prensa Digital, are listed here.

From The Guardian here – a new European edition called Guardian Europe will open for business as a dedicated English-language site for our European readers this autumn, packed with news, business, investigations, arts, culture, sport and features.


From Las Provincias here: ‘A new technique against the tiger mosquito reduces its population by 80%. The Ministry of Agriculture has started a sterilization program to fight against this plague’.

National Geographic warns about feral cats (‘harmful predators in the natural world’) and says that the Canary Islands are one of the most threatened enclaves.

From The Olive Press here: ‘Work starts soon to dismantle Spain’s oldest nuclear reactor in Burgos province’. The La Garoña station has been stalled since 2012. The careful demolition will take around ten years to complete. 20Minutos also has the story here.


If The PP wins the elections, The Emeritus Juan Carlos may consider returning to Spain to live says El Huff Post here, although other sources have poo-pooed the suggestion.

The archbishop of Oviedo has come out as supporting Vox, says El País here, which may not come as a surprise. In a pastoral letter, he asks for the vote for the "real fire-fighters", rather than "the mendacious arsonists".

I suppose there are reasons to vote for a smaller party which will never win the elections – or perhaps an even smaller one which will most likely not even get one deputy, but how about a teeny one which won’t get more than a handful of votes? El Frente Obrero (wiki) is a small and eccentric group that claims to be ‘anti-imperialist, anti-immigrant, anti-feminist, Eurosceptic, republican and patriotic’, but it is certainly going to anger a lot more people that the votes it might collect. El Mundo brings us the party whose campaign poster shows the King of Morocco wearing a rainbow embroidered on his djellaba while kissing Pedro Sánchez on the lips.

Following the fall of Badajoz to the Nationalist forces in 1936, some 4,000 local people were executed in the bullring. A nasty moment in Spain’s history best forgotten, or maybe mourned. But celebrated? The Vox councillor Alejandro Vélez said in the opening plenary session last Friday that the event was ‘historic’, as it was the end of the Communists. While the opposition parties were understandably appalled, the provincial Vox party supported the councillor and accused the opposition of exalting ‘guerracivilismo’.

All those things that Franco did for Spain… A number of bulos have been circulating about the many things General Franco did for his countrymen. Most of these are false says an article at elDiario.es here which begins: ‘Franco didn’t create the Social Security system. Nor did he decide to establish paid vacations and he was never in charge of creating the public pension system. The dictator did not get Spain to become part of the United Nations nor did he forgive the payment of taxes…’

From La Vanguardia here. ‘The new mayoress of Valencia, María José Catalá, begins the procedures to name Rita Barberá (wiki) "honorary mayor" of Valencia posthumously’.

Comedian Miguel Charisteas notes that many of the new PP mayors have raised their sueldos. There’s a surprise. The short video on YouTube here.

‘Since his father had died 5 months earlier, King Alfonso XIII of Spain became king on the day of his birth in 1886. While only a few minutes old he was presented naked to the Spanish Prime Minister on a silver tray’ (Wiki). He was King of Spain from his birth until 14 April 1931, when the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed. For a harsher look at the king, we go to Retratos de la Historia which begins: ‘Alfonso XIII was a Bourbon king, a smoker and whoremonger who cheated at betting on greyhounds and had halitosis, and the bartender Emile of the Hotel Paris in Monte Carlo gave his name to a cocktail made with gin and Dubonnet. Alfonso XIII financed porn movies with whores from Barcelona's Chinatown…’. Quite the character!

What about the new toll-roads? The plan from the EU is to charge motorists for using motorways with a toll-system using cameras to read number-plates. The head of the DGT said last week that this would begin later in 2024. The Government quickly contradicted him and said that it wouldn’t. Brussels then said that, yes, Spanish motor-ways will one day use a toll-system but the date hadn’t been set.

The great Francisco Ibáñez (wiki) died earlier this week at 87. Ibáñez was the cartoonist who created (among several other notable characters) Mortedelo y Filemón (Mort & Phil apparently in English, Clever und Smart in German) – sublime comic strip books of an investigator and his boss. There’s also a couple of (real actors) movies out there as well. In all, he produced some 50,000 pages of comic madness. Lots more on him here.

Bringing some major satisfaction to Spain, Murcia’s Carlos Alcaraz beat Novak Djokovic in five sets to win Wimbledon for his second major trophy says The Huff Post here.

From Sur in English here: ‘How to report a crime in Spain if you become a victim while on holiday’.

See Spain:

Could Valencia be the place we choose to live, asks BBQboy and Spanky here.


La Luna y El Toro, with Esteban and Mauro Araque – a fine rumba on YouTube here.

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