Benidorm Fiestas’ Deceptive Crowds

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BENIDORM fiestas officially finished on Tuesday, and officially were another rousing success. On the surface this would appear to be so, but as with many things in life, not everything is as it seems.

EWN spoke to several traders who had rented specially erected stalls in the town’s main walking street, and who expressed their despair at the lack of money being spent by the crowds that filled the streets.

We spoke to Sally, who has had a jewellery stall at the fiestas for several years, asking how she saw them this year, “ There’s loads of people but they’re just not spending money. The crisis is really hitting hard.

The Spanish are here but they look and don’t spend. I’m trying to sell even at crazy prices, just to get some money in, but still the people aren’t buying. I’m selling at what I paid wholesale, just to get money in, and still they try to haggle me down. It’s all really depressing. And the Brits aren’t here like before. Looking at all these people shuffling past, and just looking, it’s all a bit surreal.”

Maria is a regular at events throughout Spain. She operates a tapas and drinks stall, “small but very profitable”, she said. She was proud of offering a wine or beer, plus tapa for only 1euro, and was equally dismayed at how the public weren’t buying.

“I did Malaga last, before this one and it was about four times the turnover. People queued for my stuff. True. But here no one wants it. I’m down 75 percent on the same period in Malaga. I don’t understand it. I don’t know why it’s so different here (in Benidorm). It wasn’t so bad last year.”

Maria stayed open until every other stall closed, ever optimistic of a last minute rush, which never came. Even the clown with the painted smile, who traipsed up and down with his balloons, seemed that bit jaded come the third night of the festivities. The crowds were there in their thousands, it was just their money that was missing.

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