By Euro Weekly News Media • 09 September 2011 • 14:03
Newspapers are all about interaction with the community and hopefully they reflect and respect public debate. Both columnists and journalists appreciate readers who put their oar in. It is the healthiest of features.
It was good to receive much well-argued comment on my Time to Wake Up, Spain article.
Manuel García Sánchez, Spanish and proud of it, says; “The article is 100 percent correct. I have worked in the tourism industry for many years, in and out of Spain. When I hear so-called professionals complain I suggest they take a trip to Turkey and Egypt and draw comparisons.”
The correspondent goes on to say other countries have a firm and consistent tourism policy; not 17 regional offices as in Spain. Again, most have a Ministry of Tourism, which Spain has never considered despite tourism being ‘our main and only industry.’ “In Spain the marketing is done as it was in the 70s and 80s; little or nothing has changed. It is time for tourism to be managed by professionals, not by politicians and amateurs.”
“Those ‘managing’ tourism should be asking themselves: what do customers want, what have the competition got that we haven’t and what are they doing that we cannot copy.” Stop counting people and occupancy percentages; instead count income, money, and price.”
There is nothing like distance to give perspective; I was on a Latvian train journey when I pondered the shortcomings of Spain’s approach to tourism. Richard Ash, a CEO of one of the UK’s leading retail related industries, has a home in Mijas. He is scathing about Spain’s shortcomings when it comes to inward investment.
He offers faultless insight, depressingly so when one considers that it is precisely this level of entrepreneur that Spain needs.
He writes: “The article certainly resonated with me and I, like you, have become increasingly disconcerted with what is happening in this most beautiful part of the world.”
Well placed to make his observations he has his own ideas on how the region can be improved upon to compete on the world stage as a holiday and leisure destination of choice.
“On my recent visit I have been frustrated by how miserable and rude many Spaniards are, especially to the British who have poured hundreds of millions of Euros into the coast. There doesn’t seem to be a culture of gratitude; good manners are the exception rather than the rule. I have travelled to many parts of the world and the Spanish attitude appears almost unique. The people of America, Dubai, Singapore, Italy, Germany, Holland and Scotland, have all delighted me with their warm and friendly demeanour.”
“Why,” he goes on to say; “are the Spanish like this? They have fantastic weather, stunning countryside and a wonderful lifestyle.”
Don’t shoot the messenger. This correspondent calls a spade a spade when he cites the high levels of crime compared to competing destinations. He expresses concern about the less than even-handed laissez-faire anti-foreigner attitude of the police; not to mention their lack of effectiveness in preventing or dealing with crime.
He says he has witnessed and experienced more crime here in ten years than in London or Birmingham in 47 years. He lists them; I will not do so as you deserve better than such unpalatable truths.
Neither Richard Ash nor Manuel García Sánchez criticise from a standpoint other than altruistic. They love Spain, as most of us do. They want only the best for it but doubtless they share the view that Spain has morphed into a spoiled unkempt know-it-all brat that, despite all evidence to the contrary, has closed ears and may also be deaf to the nails being hammered into its coffin.
Photo credit: Mikhail Zahranichny / Shutterstock.com
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