A WEEK after thousands of counterfeit items were destroyed by steamroller, Torrevieja’s small and medium business association, APYMECO has raised concerns and provided evidence from local traders regarding the damage that illegal street vending is doing to local, legal business.
Antonio Serna, APYMECO president, believes the image presented to hundreds of thousands of tourists in the city last summer “has been one poor, as some seafront areas have become real markets on the beach.”
The traders estimate is that the presence of these illegal vendors results in business losses of about 35 percent.
In the beginning, these rogue traders specialised in the sale of CDs, DVDs and sunglasses but their market has expanded and they now sell everything, including some of the same products offered by local merchants with whom they compete.
The mood of APYMECO members is, according to its president, “totally devastating”. Serna said “it is hard to help our members who are trying to discover new ways to be competitive but find themselves at a total disadvantage to a lower quality product, even though legal stores offer a much better deal and guarantees to the buyer.”
The economics of selling these illegal products goes further than just the point of sale as Serna says “we must add that these unlicensed street vendors, work without paying any kind of fee, allowing them to further reduce their prices on these imitation items.”
APYMECO are calling for more police action in removing the illegal street vendors from the main tourist streets, especially along Torrevieja’s sea front area.
Meanwhile, Torrevieja’s Department of Trade and Hospitality has received an AFIC grant of €46,698 euros in aid, to boost various aspects of local commerce.
This aid plan, regulated by the Department of Industry, Trade and Innovation, has as its aim the promoting of urban commercial areas, defraying economic costs of the various actions to promote local trade.
The Department of Trade and Hospitality, overseen by Councillor Agustina Esteve said that these subsidies will go to the following areas: €19,990, to improve the urban competitiveness of local trade in stocks of equipment, that will also involve a study of the Municipal Market “The Plasa”.
A total of €24,000 will cover innovation needs and the use of new technologies as an effective means of sale and building infrastructures in order to capture new customers through promotional activities plus maintenance of management programs with the assistance of cover the costs incurred for actions within the AFIC network, promoting and implementing urban commercial areas, work sessions and information days. €2,718 euros, will be used in financing public interest activities such as promoting exhibitions which will also cover some expenses generated as a result of Torrevieja Business Expo.
Agustina Esteve says that “traders will all benefit from these subsidies, which encourage small local businesses plus investing in innovation and employment new technologies as a source of economic growth.”
By Keith Nicol