Weekly Report”

Business over Tapas (nº 523)

Business over Tapas (nº 523)

  • 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

miércoles 31 de enero de 2024, 23:06h

31ENE24 - ,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.


Following another successful session at the Fitur Madrid tourist fair this past weekend, Spain is preparing itself for the 2024 season.

With numbers of visitors beginning to reach uncomfortable highs, there are plans to try and resolve the problems. After all, as we know, it’s not really the crowds of foreigners that interest us, so much as the amount that they spend. The Express brings us: ‘Spain only wants to attract 'high-class tourists' as the country becomes overwhelmed. Spain is set to focus on 'high value visitors' including those with significant 'spending power' as the country battles high visitor numbers’.

Plans to spread the visitors around won’t work – after a cold and dull winter, the truth is that nobody wants to go and visit Huercal Overa (a market town in Northern Almería present – inexplicably – this year at Fitur) for their hols. They want Benidorm.

Tourist apartments are a low-hanging target. ‘Town councils may establish limitations regarding the maximum number of homes for tourist purposes, per building or sector’. There are, we read, 80,000 of these just in Andalucía alone. In Mallorca, ‘Holiday lets are to blame for Mallorca tourist overcrowding’. Controls are evidently overdue.

This is for the comfort and safety of the customer, peace of mind for the neighbours, and a more ready income for the hoteliers.

Even though tourist-rentals work out as being usually more expensive than hotel stays.

Then we read of the ‘alarm at the boom in the number of tourist homes in Spain’. Exeltur considers this as the worst problem facing the tourist industry in 2004 ‘ahead even of concerns regarding the Government cutting short-range domestic flights’.

Some hotels are still yet to recover from the Covid crisis, as we see in an article at Infobae: ‘Tourism is still not profitable: half of the hotels in Málaga, Madrid and Barcelona are at high risk of defaulting on the banks’.

The Bank of Spain weighs in, concerned about the ‘increases in the minimum wage, difficulties in finding staff and adapting to new technologies’ (none of which are particularly a problem for tourist lets).

But, while the high numbers of tourists staying in the downtown apartments is certainly a problem (with their little wheelie-suitcases trundling noisily across the cobble-stones) and one should always feel sorry for the grand hotels with their assembly-line business model, the long-term threat comes from elsewhere.

The looming climate-crisis.


From Menafn here: ‘Despite a 9% drop in property sales last year, Spanish house prices remain firm. Higher interest rates and property prices have greatly worsened affordability, forcing many first-time buyers to postpone their plans. An ING survey shows that 46% of Spanish renters cannot afford to buy their own home…’

From Xataca here: ‘60% of home purchases in Spain are currently made without the need of a mortgage. Most of these operations are concentrated in tourist areas and tend to be second homes’.

From The Majorca Daily Bulletin here: ‘A French court rejects the 90 day amendment in major blow, Spain vows to fight on. The amendment had given hopes to thousands of British home owners’. Following up three days later with this: ‘The 90 day rule is costing Spain millions, say real estate agents. Pressure on the European Union to scrap the ruling from Spanish government’.

From SVI here: ‘No ‘Extended Stays’ in France for British Second Homeowners, the High Court Decides’.

A ten metre studio in Madrid here for 550€ a month. They are known as minipisos. The story at VozPópuli.


From La Cadena Ser here: President Sánchez announces the expansion of the Adolfo Suárez-Madrid Barajas airport with a budget of 2,400 million euros. "We are going to turn it into one of the largest airports in the EU," he said.

How long is the average hotel-stay? This and other useful statistics regarding hotels (even by municipality) are available at EP Data here. The answer to the above stands at 3.26 days.

From Sur in English here: ‘The five key points of Andalucía's new tourist rental housing law explained. Owners or operators will have one year to adapt their properties to these new Junta requirements which cover areas such as the minimum size, as well as facilities and items that must be provided’.

A number of conferences, meetings and speeches at the Fitur last week were ‘dedicated to addressing the twin-issues that the advance of climate change poses to the tourism sector. On the one hand, the need for most of today's main destinations to adapt to an increasingly inhospitable and less comfortable environment. And, on the other hand, the obligation to contribute as a sector to mitigate the causes that are causing the climate crisis, a task that requires a greater commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions…’. El Confidencial braves the subject here.

‘Mass tourism remains a concern in most popular Spanish destinations’ says InSpain News here, noting that ‘Spain reached an impressive tourism milestone in 2023, with more than 84 million visitors, surpassing the record figures of 2019. While the tourism sector is flourishing, the problem of mass tourism is growing in some cities’.

‘Canary Islands 'facing collapse' after millions of tourists flood hotspot loved by Brits. Experts working for campaign group Ben Magec-Ecologists in Action have warned that Canary Islands such as Tenerife and Lanzarote face collapse if the number of visitors is not reduced’. Item from The Daily Mirror picked up by 20Minutos here.

From Hosteltur here: ‘Spain breaks record for cruise passengers: 12 million in 2023’. The article ends with this caveat: ‘...It should be noted that, given the characteristics of the cruise-visits, the same passenger can be counted on two or more occasions (according to their movements, that is, if they have stopped at two or more Spanish ports), which does not disguise the generalized growth in activity, especially when compared to previous periods’.

Is Benidorm still a yobbish destination for Brits abroad? Video on YouTube (thanks to Jake) – there’s some horrible promotion to wade through first…


From EuroNews here: ‘Employment surge as Spain sees 780,000 new jobs created in past year’. The article says that ‘Spain's unemployment rate fell to 11.76% in the fourth quarter of 2023, down from 11.84% in the previous quarter…’. There is still a way to go.

‘The Spanish economy grew by 2.5% in 2023 and accelerated in the fourth quarter in the midst of European stagnation’ says 20Minutos here.

‘The Banco de Santander has broken its 2022 profit record. The bank obtained a profit of 11,076 million euros in 2023, surpassing for the first time the barrier of 10,000 million profit in a year, as reported this Wednesday to the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV). Last year it had already recorded the highest profits in its history, with 9,605 million, but in 2023 it has improved that figure by 15.3%’. Cinco Días has the story.

Hacienda wants to track all card payments made in Spain with the objective of preventing tax fraud. The Administration plans to modify the rules of tax management and inspection procedures to establish a new obligation "that incorporates information on operations carried out with all types of cards, including credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards with or without an associated bank account, virtual payment cards or for online purchases and other cards of any denomination and in any currency". Until now and in terms of cards, banks only have the obligation to inform the Tax Agency annually of the operations carried out by businessmen or professionals when the annual net amount of charges exceeds 3,000 euros…’ More on this at El Economista here.

From 20Minutos here: ‘Unemployment was reduced in 2023 by 193,400 people and 783,000 jobs were created, triple the number in the previous year’.

From Europa Press here: ‘H&M announces an ERE (provisional downsizing plan) in Spain that will affect 588 workers and the closure of 28 stores’.


A mess this week. From the elDiario.es daily newsletter: ‘The same deal that two months ago allowed the investiture of Pedro Sánchez now places the investiture on the edge of the precipice. Junts per Catalunya voted 'no' on Tuesday to the amnesty law in Congress. Puigdemont's people say that the text they agreed upon and then tweaked with the PSOE is no longer valid.

Why did Junts suddenly prefer to vote ‘no’, to add their votes to those of PP and Vox to reject a law that they demanded until five minutes before, a law to which ERC or EH Bildu have voted yes? Well, first because Carles Puigdemont (their exiled leader) wants to continue being the protagonist of the political debate, speeding up all possible deadlines, and second because he wants to continue introducing amnestied crimes into the law; he does not trust that he might end up being tried for attempted murder, for high treason or for stealing chickens from some farm in Waterloo. As the PSOE has accepted more amnestied crimes, a couple of judges have come up with some new ones out of their sleeves, and thus Junts hesitates again. The PSOE says that it can't give way any further, so Junts says then it won't vote in favour…’

‘The PSOE will continue negotiating the amnesty with Junts but closes the door to accepting more changes due to the threat of the Constitutional Court’ says 20Minutos here.

So now what? There remains just fifteen days to come to an agreement (which must afterwards pass through the PP-controlled Senate), or die. Junts certainly wouldn’t get a better deal if the Government fell and the PP took the helm. They’d likely jail them.

From El País here: ‘The Government is angry with Junts: “The legislature is not at risk, but maybe the amnesty”. Pedro Sánchez is determined to continue’.

Recently, the five-members of Podemos left their umbrella group Sumar in the Cortes and joined up with the unaligned 'Grupo Mixto' (to everyone's indignation). On Saturday, one of the five 'podemitas' resigned, leaving the group with just four seats, as the next on the Sumar list is/was a conformist. Sumar now has 27 seats in parliament. El Huff Post here.

Iñigo Errejón – the youthful-looking leader of Más País – a satellite of Sumar – is now the spokesperson for the left-wing alliance since the previous one, Marta Lois, has gone to Galicia to campaign in the upcoming regional elections there. Europa Press has the story.

An upset for Vox in the Balearics. ‘The Vox Parliamentary Group in the Balearic Islands has reported its expulsion of the deputy and president of the party, Patricia de las Heras, and the president of the autonomous Chamber, Gabriel Le Senne (a frequent disseminator of conspiracy theories and hoaxes)’. This leaves them with five seats – only – the revenge from Head Office in Madrid has been swift, removing all five from their militancy. elDiario.es has the story here.

Another member of Podemos has resigned. Jaume Asens, one of the party founders, says ‘The party of 2015 is better represented by the Sumar of today’.

Galicia (Elections February 18th):

From ECD here: ‘The Galician elections are the first after the fiasco of Alberto Núñez Feijóo’s rout in the General Elections last summer, when he was unable to achieve a sufficient majority to be able to govern. Now, the leader of the PP has publicly questioned the probable absolute majority in Galicia despite the fact that all the surveys he has received confirm that scenario. The Partido Popular trust in a clear majority for the president of the Xunta de Galicia. But there is also no hiding the concern that the PP candidate Alfonso Rueda will not reach an absolute majority, necessary to revalidate the mandate, crucial both for the candidate himself and for reaffirming Feijóo's leadership nationally’.


‘Six million people, residents of 202 municipalities in the most populated areas of Barcelona and Gerona, will suffer new restrictions due to the drought "in the coming days", probably starting this Friday. This was announced on Tuesday by the Government of the Generalitat, after verifying that the reservoirs in the internal basins of Catalonia, the Ter-Llobregat system, have dropped below 100 cubic hectometres’. More at El Independiente.


From Sur in English here: ‘Cameron confident a Gibraltar treaty with the EU is achievable. Chief Minister Fabian Picardo met the UK Foreign Secretary in London on Monday while Spanish Foreign Minister Albares said Spain's proposal was global, balanced and generous’.


(January 31st): ‘Happy fourth birthday Brexit! Have Boris Johnson’s hopes and promises come true in the four years since we left the EU?’ The New European thinks not. Over at The Guardian here: ‘British businesses experiencing “some friction” when trading with the European Union after Brexit is the “price you pay” for “being a sovereign state again”, a government minister has said’. On the other hand, The Telegraph is more sanguine: ‘No, Brexit was not a terrible mistake’.

‘Outrageous! 10,000-euro fine if non-resident Britons spend more than 90 days in Spain

Why the 90 day rule needs to be scrapped’. The Majorca Daily Bulletin here.

The European Broadcasting Union reaffirms that Israel will participate in Eurovision this year, insisting that it is an “apolitical event” (after vetoing Russia in 2022 for its invasion of Ukraine). Ver Tele has the story here.


The Olive Press warns of the dangers of the ‘lethal’ Nolotil – a painkiller often prescribed in Spain. It says ‘Although fine for most Spaniards, the drug can have severe consequences for Northern Europeans. Some forty British and Irish expats are believed to have died as a result of Nolotil, which can weaken your immune system, provoke sepsis and lead to organ failure…’


With all the endless protests and criticism (much of which is aimed at the political amnesty of the Catalonian plotters), President Sánchez believes that there is a far-right force – he calls it la fachosfera – "that seeks to overthrow the Government". Onda Cero Radio says that he uses the term in reference to criticism that attempts to "polarize, insult and generate distrust" (with audio). Maldita says the provenance of the term comes from France.


Spain sees winter heat-wave amid warning of extreme summer says The Independent here.

One rather unwieldy plan to palliate the water crisis is to send some cargo boats to the drier areas. From Xataca here: ‘Spain has a plan to move hundreds of thousands of litres of water against the drought: using a fleet of ships. Despite the recent rains, the Almería reservoirs are below 10% and the reserves of the Barcelona metropolitan area are at just 11%’. I think that, sooner or later, the wells used by so many small-holders will be commandeered for the Greater Good. As for the golf courses (which bring tourist dollars), ‘The Councillor for the Environment and spokesman for the Andalusian Government, Ramón Fernández-Pacheco, made it clear last week that "they are not the problem", but golf courses that do not use regenerated water spend around 4,800 million litres a year just to water the grass…’


32% of babies born in Spain in 2021 had either a foreign-born mother or father says Xataca here. Even so, Spain’s birth-rate is one of the lowest in the world (only ahead of South Korea, Malta and China).

The protests outside the PSOE headquarters in Madrid continue

A bit late, but the Constitutional Court has reversed the sacking of Podemos deputy Alberto Rodríguez (the tall fellow with the dreadlocks) from the last government. This news will no doubt cheer him up. The story is at EFE here.

(With a small grain of salt): The Uruguayan woman who was shocked to learn about the little Spanish flags on people’s watch-straps. El Huff Post has the story here. In short – right-wingers and nationalists tend to wear them – or place flags up on their balconies…

Some useful if peculiar phrases used in Spanish – at Matador Network here (Thanks to Brett).

The poster chosen this year for the Easter Week in Seville is certainly different.

As a matter of fact, I like beer. But which brand…?

The Madrid town of Pozuelo de Alarcón is to build a bullring says Aplausos here.

See Spain:

From Fascinating Spain here: ‘Guadix (Granada), the European capital of inhabited caves’.

The Andalusian Crush with Peter Dinklage on YouTube (promotion) here.

In Gijón (Asturias), the city's City of Culture at around 270,000 square meters is the largest complex in Spain says Infobae with photos and video here.


Hi Lenox, Great work as usual.

Galicia: Just to remind you that Vigo is the most important city in its province, which is Pontevedra, capital Pontevedra and not Lugo, which is capital of its own province.

The other two provincial capitals are of course Ourense and La Coruña.

All the best, Charles

çMind you, there used to be seven Galician provinces prior to 1833: Santiago, La Coruña, Betanzos, Lugo, Mondoñedo, Orense y Tuy. And the seat of the regional government today (Xunta de Galicia) is in Santiago de Compostela (La Coruña). (Wiki here) - Lenox

The wheelie-suitcase noise in Spanish is traqueteo.

Cheers, Jake.

(A post of mine on Facebook) - This thing about speaking perfectly good Spanish, but being interrupted by the waiter in broken English. It happened to me twice yesterday - in a bar and over at the petrol station.

This may be because, despite my years here, I look pinkly Nordic.

Today, I'm wearing a tee shirt from Hamburg and, it works! No one is trying their English on me (not even the English themselves).


Ella ya me olvidó – Argentinian artist Sofía Viola on YouTube here.

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