Face it, the news from Spain is not good. The country is in a deep recession, in large part brought on by the recently implemented set of austerity measures meant to help Spain weather the financial crisis.
The unemployment rate is just over 25 percent* — which means that one in four Spaniards of working-age is out of work.
Young people have been hit the hardest, with 52,3 percent of youth below the age of 25 unable to find a job.
Shops throughout Spain have seen their sales drop for 27 months in a row.
Predictably, restaurants are having a hard time as well.
After all, far fewer people are able to afford dining outside their homes.
Many restaurants are, in fact open solely during the tourist season.
It is no wonder then that tourists ask questions like these:
What impact does the crisis have on my vacation?
First: now more than ever Spain welcomes tourists. Tourism provides a vital source of income to the country.
Second: Starting on November 1, 2012, Catalonia will charge a tourist tax — just like countries throughout Europe and elsewhere have been doing for years. This will not impact you all that much. For instance, if you are staying at a holiday apartment, you’ll pay 0,45 Euro cents per night for every person 16 years and older — and then only for the first 7 nights of your stay. That’s just 3,15 Euro per person.
Second: As a tourist you will see and experience very little impact from the crisis — particularly when you visit well-known tourist destinations such as Blanes and other resorts along the Costa Brava.
You may notice — if you have visited before — that some stores and restaurants have closed. In addition, public services — such as buses and trains — may run a little less often than in years past.
But overall, Spain’s crisis will not have an impact on your vacation.
In Blanes most tourists stay in hotels located in the Els Pins district, an area which also includes some residential housing. The crisis is not much in evidence there.
Further toward the south are the campings. That’s where you may notice fewer customers — with crowds arriving later and departing earlier. We don’t quite know what that would be the case.
In the old town center of Blanes, where our holiday apartments are located, the crisis is perhaps best visible in the shopping district where a number of higher-end fashion stores have closed.
Blanes has always been a favorite destination for well-to-do people from Barcelona, many of whom had a second home here.
Due to the crisis many of them have lost their holiday homes because they are no longer able to finance them.
Others simply stay away, preferring to save their money and weather the crisis in Barcelona instead.
It is the stores and restaurants that largely depended on these Catalonians that have suffered.
But since tourism along the Costa Brava is still strong — and growing — stores and restaurants catering to tourists appear to withstand the crisis.
Again, as a tourist the crisis will not affect you.
* In Catalonia, the unemployment rate is 22.5 percent.