The port has seen fewer Spaniards and more Brits. A. BOLTON
It’s been a difficult summer for foreign businesses in Marbella and Estepona but many have reported a rise in profits compared with last year.
Despite the worsening economic situation some proprietors claim they haven’t noticed the crisis and that business is booming.
As for Palm Beach chiringuito in Estepona, they are having their worst summer ever since they opened seven years ago.
Owner Aart Cooiman, 39, from Holland, told SUR in English: “Our main income was from the Spanish but that hardly exists any more. We made nearly all our money from foreign tourism this summer.
“The supermarkets have done very well, as you see the Spanish queuing up to take their own food and drink down the beach. People just don’t have money.
“Also the town hall doesn’t encourage tourism by giving us any leeway to do live music. When we had live music here seven years ago we had 24 employees during the summer. This summer we had three staff. You do the maths.”
In Estepona Port, bar owner Wendy Meehan said her takings were up this year.
But the Brit, originally from Croydon, who has run Bar La Luna for the past 11 years, said: “It’s been better this year compared with last year due to the exchange rate with the euro. But two or three years ago you could not see this place for the number of people in the port. I used to have five staff and now I run it myself. A lot of the regulars are still here but don’t come out every night like they used to. It’s a struggle for everyone at the moment and I’m not sure it will get any better with the increase in tax.”
Meanwhile on Marbella’s Golden Mile, business has been booming at Cabaña Nagüeles.
Argentinian Carla Lencioni, 31, who opened the restaurant last July with her boyfriend and sister, said: “It’s been a lot better than we had expected. We thought business would be much slower but from the first day we opened we have been full every night. We know it will slow down a bit as we come out of high season but we have a lot of regular clients which gives us some hope that we’ll still have some business during the winter months.”
Over in Puerto Banús Aaron Phillips, 44, who co-owns night spot Terra Blues, said their takings were up on last summer.
He said: “Normally in August we have a lot of Spanish come down from Madrid and the big cities but not many have come down this year. Instead we’ve had more British and believe it or not it’s because of the TOWIE effect. There’s been a buzz about coming to Marbella as everyone wants to be somebody here. There’s a lot more promoters in Britain now specifically bringing people to Marbella because of TOWIE.”
At the Marbella Business Group (MBG), the crisis has largely gone unnoticed by members according to Vice President Peter Wall.
Peter, who is based in Elviria, said: “The overall feel from our members is the crisis has not affected business. There are of course some industries that have been affected, but for industries that service Marbella, rather than the tourists who come to Marbella, business has improved, which would indicate that Marbella especially, has not been affected by the crisis as much as expected.”
Ulf Eriksson, a Swedish Cabinet maker who lives in Marbella, said: “This has been my best summer ever in the seven years I have lived in the Marbella area. But I don’t think my business has that much to do with the crisis. My clients are usually people with two, three, four or even five homes. And I believe, these people only noticed the crisis in a positive way, a lot more possibilities to invest money because of lower prices.”
However, Estepona-based Englishman Garry Corkish, who runs the International Golf Society, said: “It’s been worse for me since last year as fewer expats are coming over to stay and play. The golf lessons seem to be a luxury some players have had to cut down on.”