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IF the Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT) get their way the greeting ‘Ola!’ heard in Benidorm will be replaced by ‘Hi-de-Hi, campers!’ Executive Director, of the trade body, Steve Freudmann, says the resort should concentrate on two and three-star tourism.

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I thought it already had; the circumstantial evidence is overwhelmiing. The resort has much more in common (excuse the expression) with Blackpool than its name beginning with the letter B.

Benidorm already has two star hotels, and two star restaurants charging five star prices; two star entertainment and service that turns out to be in the one star category. Its beachfront business facades resemble a film set for a 1960s TV comedy. There’s only one Shirley Valentine on the Greek island of Mykonos: There’s thousands of them in Benidorm.


PLASTIC FOOD

The director reminds us. “it is difficult for us to find a restaurant that doesn’t have plastic photos of the food, normally faded by the sun.” Surely he has confused our Benidorm with Benalmadena?

Addressing delegates at the extravagantly splendiferous five star Asia Gardens Hotel overlooking the bays’ sweeping panorama, he says the Costa Blanca has lost its share of the market to rival destinations. He identifies these by adding; “The notable increases were seen in Turkey, Egypt, the Middle East, Tunisia and Morocco.”


During 2009 Spain saw a 20 per cent drop in British tourism and is struggling to keep up with the Middle East and Morocco? I wouldn’t be surprised if the Gaza Strip was getting more tourists than Costa Britsville. If it can’t compete against third world countries we may as well throw the toalla in.

PICTURE THE HEADLINES

Doesn’t Sr. Freudmann read the newspapers or at least the Sunday Times? Their holiday trends survey revealed that 27 per cent of British holidaymakers were put off the Costas because ‘they are not foreign enough.’

Now the guru of (personal) good taste, on a three day holi-jolly at one of the city’s swankiest hotels, suggests two star hotels as the answer to the drop in tourism. Presumably these will have flushing water and in-house entertainment: ‘The Sink Estate Brats’ and ‘Student Mayhem.’ Appropriate venues for the next ITT knees-up perhaps?

It would be best to keep Mr. Freudmann’s opinions to ourselves. I can just imagine the headlines in the UK’s media: “Benidormitory,’ Hi-de-Hi, Amigo!,’ ‘The Poor Favor Benidorm.’  After all we wouldn’t want Benidorm to lower the tone, would we?

By Mike Walsh

www.michaelwalsh.es





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