Tourists quit Costa del Sol for costa del drizzle

ELIZABETH NASH

Madrid

"Everything under the sun," promises the Spanish tourist poster. But that is the trouble. Spain's mighty tourist industry, backbone of the economy, is suffering an unexpected dip in its busiest season, prompting travel agents to offer discounts of up to 50 per cent. There is just too much sunshine around.

With northern Europe basking in a record-breaking heatwave, Britons in particular have spurned the surge to the south this summer in favour of equally sunny beaches at home. Travel agents in the Costa del Sol had 5 per cent of their reservations cancelled last month, mainly from Britain. And in the quintessential resort of Benidorm, special offers are being launched to fill rooms.

Many Spaniards for whom no summer used to be complete without weeks lying on a sun-drenched beach, are this year turning away from the sun to luxuriate in the exotic delights of northern drizzle. The parched Mediterranean coast is still the most popular holiday destination, despite restrictions on water because of the persistent drought. But the dour northern coasts of Cantabria and Galicia - traditionally poor relations in a sun-dominated industry - are among the few areas enjoying a bumper season.

North-west Galicia, notorious for its unpredictable weather, has always had to offer alternative attractions and this year appears to have hit the jackpot, with tourism up 16 per cent. Its emphasis on "rural tourism" - walking holidays, boating and camping, complete with verdant pastures and heavy downpours - provides forgotten pleasures.

One Galician resident tells with amusement of a party of Andalucians camping in the Galician beauty spot of Monte al Olla. "When it started to rain, flooding their tent, they were ecstatic and started dancing and singing with joy."

But throughout Spain, tourists are spending less. Bed-and-breakfast in family houses is gaining favour against full-board in hotels, and self- caterers in flats are buying sandwiches and bottles of water rather than taking long boozy lunches at beachside restaurants. In the Mediterranean area of Castellon, operators say spending is at its lowest for five years. "The only people making money are the supermarkets," they grumble.

"Unfortunately," said one restaurateur, "this year there have been no queues and no one has had to be turned away for lack of an empty table."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Graduate Software Developer / Junior Developer

£20 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Software Develop...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee Teacher - Maths

£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organization is the larges...

Recruitment Genius: Delegate Telesales Executive - OTE £21,000 uncapped

£16000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: High quality, dedicated Delegat...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - School Playground Designer

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor