Wednesday, August 31, 2005

1000s disappointed as Seabreeze pulls Costa del Sol Concerts for Jamiroquai & Bryan Adams

Seabreeze Productions, a British-run music promoter based in Spain, has cancelled a series of concerts on the Costa del Sol, leaving ticket holders and intermediary businesses owed thousands of pounds.

Six thousand fans had bought tickets costing upwards of £32 each for Jamiroquai and Bryan Adams gigs, only to discover that the concerts, one earlier this month and the other at the beginning of next, would not take place. Seabreeze is based on the Costa del Sol but is run by British music promoter John Coletta, who is best known for working with major rock groups including Deep Purple. It has specialised in bringing British acts to Spain, with the shows billed ranging from Elton John to the English National Orchestra.

A spokesperson for Jamiroquai, who had been due to appear on August 6, issued the following statement: ?Promoters of Jamiroquai?s scheduled show in Marbella have today announced that they are unable to pay the costs of putting on the show. Jamiroquai, who along with their crew, trucks and equipment have been in town for two days, were ready willing and able to play tomorrow night?s concert and were extremely disappointed to be told the news.

?The promoters of the show, who have also cancelled several other scheduled shows with other artists through the remainder of the summer, were unable to fund the costs associated with putting on the show, including power, security, staging, policing and first aid.?
TickTackTicket, a Spanish agency, was used to sell tickets for the events. A recording on its ticket hotline now informs customers that all concerts are cancelled until further notice, due to technical and financial problems.

According to reports in the local press, the ticket agency and other companies involved with the event, as well as thousands of ticket holders, are still owed money, with TickTackTicket considering legal action after receiving no response from the promoter. Meanwhile, Seabreeze Productions has been uncontactable.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Times Economics article on Expats Working in Spain

Spain, new land of opportunity
From Graham Keeley in Barcelona

?IT?S like Bognor with botox here,? said Lesley Bunce, surveying the scene on the ?frontline? in Puerto Banus.
She was referring to the stream of Ferraris and Daimlers trawling along the harbour side in one of the Costa del Sol?s most famous haunts.

Bunce, 44, who runs the Blue Bar in the resort, has been in Spain for only eight months. She refers to the ?frontline? not just because the bar is on the seafront, but because the constant battles against Spanish bureaucracy ?make it feel like a war zone?.
Bunce, from Southampton, has just won the latest round in this war over her electricity supply. ?So far we are doing well, but I would say to anyone coming out here: sort out everything before you make the move to Spain.?
She is one of the new breed of British entrepreneurs staging a quiet invasion of Spain.

John Woodward runs Voyages Orsom, which offers team-building activities and corporate entertaining on his catamaran, moored off Barcelona. His bread-and-butter are corporate clients who want to take the sea air, sip a beer and watch the sun go down behind Gaudi?s Sagrada Familia. Woodward, 49, sold his cottage in Huddersfield and found partners to invest £120,000 in the business, which, after five years, is doing well.
?Brits are coming out here and starting their own businesses because they are in a no-lose situation,? he said. ?If you have an idea, the necessary skills and a lot of determination, you might as well go for it, as you have given up so much to come here anyway.?

Near Torrevieja, on the Costa Blanca, Gina Marks is filming an episode of Dream Gardens. Last year, Marks, 33, set up Sol Productions, which makes a dizzying variety of programmes, from cooking shows about how to make paella to Mr Costa Blanca, a reality-TV show. She started the television company after spotting a market to make programmes to help expats integrate.

Meanwhile, Simon Lambert, 46, relaxes on his 81ft yacht off Majorca, enjoying the fruits of 25 years spent selling villas. Lambert, managing director of Parador Properties, one of the biggest British-owned property companies in Spain, set up his first company as a teenager and has been running Parador with a partner. The company made £4 million profit last year. ?I came out to Barcelona when I was only 19 and I still love Spain,? he said, ?but running a business here is just as hard as anywhere else.?


Population: 40,350,000
Labour force: 19,330,000
Self-employed foreigners: 141,000 (British 21,000)
Most popular destination for foreigners: Catalonia (followed by Valencia, Andalucia)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Taste of Britain in Spain

A YORKSHIRE-based franchise operation which is taking a taste of Britain to foreign shores is has opened its first outlets in Spain.

Thomas Green's, which is based on Ripon's College Business Park, is aiming to roll out a network of British grocery shops throughout Europe. After early success in Holland, it has launched its first three stores in the Costa Blanca region of Spain - in Moraira, Benijofar and Gran Alacant - to serve the significant expatriate British community and growing tourist industry, as well as the local population.

Philip Evans, managing director of Thomas Green's, said: "Following the early success of our stores in The Hague and in Amsterdam, we are delighted to have begun our rollout in Spain. "Spain, which is home to over a million British expats and welcomes over 16m British tourists to its resorts each year, is a natural market for Thomas Green's.

"In particular, the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol represent excellent locations for franchisees given their popularity with Britons on holiday or seeking a home in the sun." He said the concept had received significant interest from potential franchisees in Europe, most notably in Spain, and he expect to roll out over 40 stores, including 20 in Spain, within the next three years.

Founded in 2004, Thomas Green Ltd works in partnership with Scunthorpe-based Nisa-Today's - the UK's largest distribution and services organisation for independent retail and wholesale companies - and its export partner Nisa International. Nisa International is the UK's premier wholesale exporter of grocery products to over 90 countries worldwide and a 2004 winner of the Queen's Awards for Enterprise in International Trade.

With access to Nisa-Today's product range and Nisa International's global distribution network, Thomas Green's is able to supply its overseas shops with over 12,000 ambient, chilled and frozen food products - lines typically sold in all major UK supermarkets.


In addition, Thomas Green's supplies many non food items including magazines, DVDs and stationery to its franchisees. Thomas Green's helps the franchisees to develop their stores, with full retail branding, product selection, store layout plans and marketing advice. According to Mr Evans, the new franchisees in the Costa Blanca are already looking for their second sites. Josh Jewell, who has opened a franchise store in Moraira, said he was now looking to open a second outlet: "The Thomas Green's brand appeals to both British customers and Spanish residents looking for something different. The extensive range of goods supplied through the partnership with Nisa-Today's, together with ongoing support from head office, means that I can focus on my customers and growing the business. "Opening a second store on the Costa Blanca will enable me to capture more of what is a very receptive market."

Monday, August 22, 2005

2005: A Record year for tourism in Spain

Figures just released show that the number of tourists coming to Spain has reached an all-time high this year. However, the overall balance for the Spanish economy is not as positive as it should be. According the the statistics, this year's tourists spend less and stay for shorter periods than in previous years.A record 31 million foreign tourists visited Spain between January and July this year, a rise of 6.1 percent compared to the same period in 2004.

Last month Spain received 7.4 million international tourists. Catalonia was the most popular destination in Spain for international tourists in July, and 2.2 million visitors spent a holiday in the Costa Brava or in the mountains inland. The second most popular destination is the Balearic Islands, followed by the Canary Islands, Andalucia (Costa del Sol), Valencian Region (Costa Blanca) and Madrid, in that order.

As usual the UK was the country which sent the most tourists to Spain in July (9.1 percent), followed by Germany (5.6 percent ), France (4.9 percent) and Italy (1.7 percent).

Friday, August 19, 2005

Callaghans Bar Marbella: Best Irish Bar Costa del Sol


Callaghan's Irish Pub in Marbella has settled into part & parcel of Marbella life very quickly. Formerly O'Willies Bar, just up the road from the ever popular Skol Apartments in Central Marbella, Callaghan's has filled a void of genuine Irish Pubs run by Irish in a tourist town frequented by frustrated Irish forced to show the bar staff how to pour a decent Pint of Guinness...if they even have any. We can vouch for Callaghan's and dispell the myth that Guinness doesn't travel well! The Bar opens all day for miracle hangover-cure All Day Breakfasts, a fantastic selection of food all week from their very own Honey Roast Ham to Caesar Salad, and Sunday Roasts are a real taste of home. Holidaying Families will be pleased to know Children & Families are welcomed and encouraged with a nice special menu for kids, friendly staff and the owners have cleverly created a perfect place to enjoy Sports coverage on huge flat screen TV spanning Sky, Setanta, BBC, Eurosport & more. GAA & Soccer tend to take that order!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Only British matador hangs up his cape

A BRITISH matador has performed his final bullfight in Spain after retiring following a knee injury.

Frank Evans, 63, the only English bullfighter in Spain, was carried from the ring by his fans at his last fight on the Costa del Sol.

He originally learnt his trade using a supermarket trolley - fitted with a pair of horns - in his native Salford.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

New Film "THE BUSINESS" set in Costa del Sol

An evocative new British film takes Jason Solomons back to the early Eighties and the forgotten youth cult of the 'casual', who obsessed over brand-name sportswear, football - and Wham! Curiously, the film isn't set in London but on the Costa del Sol, the stretch of coast from Malaga to Gibraltar with Puerto Banus as its shimmering centrepiece. Fleeing a botched bank job, a south London gang escape to Marbella where they set up operations - running a nightclub and running drugs from Morocco.

It's a bit Sexy Beast, a bit Goodfellas and a little bit Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels - the swearing and violence will offend some - but where it carves out a singular niche in British cinema is in its detailed reverence for the clothes and music of the hitherto little-examined eighties 'casual' subculture.

Other directors have, of course, used clothes and music to recreate a precise era. Anthony Minghella's expert use of jazz and Fifties threads was pivotal to The Talented Mr Ripley, with Matt Damon's starchy Tom Ripley desperate to inhabit the easy tailoring of Jude Law's Dickie Greenleaf; Mike Leigh's Vera Drake was superb in summoning up its post-war London milieu through meticulous use of props and costumes; while Todd Haynes's clever detailing of glam rock's sounds and outfits in Velvet Goldmine was by far the film's most successful element and earned him an unusual Special Award at Cannes.

Nick Love's previous films, Goodbye Charlie Bright and last year's The Football Factory, have developed a cult following, with fans including Noel Gallagher and Harvey Weinstein. 'You can only develop a cult if your details are bang on,' says Love. 'And I kill to get the details right. Films should say something about a time and place so that these become as important as the lead characters. If I see a guy in the wrong jeans or hear the wrong song on the soundtrack, the whole thing's ruined for me. The film's spell just disappears.'

I must declare a personal interest here. Casual was my era, my music, and Marbella was also my playground. I spent Augusts in the early Eighties drinking Malibu and pineapple in dodgy Puerto Banus nightclubs, listening to Simple Minds, Wham! and Shalamar. The place has changed and the time has passed, of course, but The Business recreates it lovingly, wittily and faithfully. When the film has its UK premiere at the closing night of the Edinburgh Film Festival on August 27, the cinema may well look like Banus's legendary Sinatra's bar or, indeed, the Wimbledon changing rooms circa 1982 as guests sport specially designed Tacchini sweatbands and tracksuit tops. Personally, I'm looking for the right shorts and have just been outbid for a pair of navy Fila BJs on eBay. You cannot be serious... '

Casual has never undergone the cultural reassessment afforded fashion trends such as punk, but it had a more democratic and far-reaching influence, and it certainly lasted longer, resurfacing every now and then in slightly altered forms in cultures such as acid house (Happy Mondays), Britpop (Oasis) and the current 'chav' (Stone Island, Burberry). 'That's because it was always associated with football,' says Terry Farley, DJ, owner of Junior Boy's Own record label and renowned former casual. 'We were called football casuals and these were the days of hooligan firms and terrace violence. You were very likely to find a Stanley knife in the pocket of a Fila tracksuit, and the establishment wanted rid of us all.'
According to Farley, casuals also lacked a particular music scene. 'In the south, casuals listened to soul music and went to the Caister Soul Weekenders to hear Fatback and Luther Vandross,' he says. 'Up north, they listened to more of a white music sound. But it was really about turning up at football and looking good.'
In his recently published fashion memoir, The Way We Wore, journalist and broadcaster Robert Elms claims that casual provoked a style war, where what you wore was a weapon. He recalls a Saturday afternoon with his QPR crew seeing off a horde from Coventry by merely singing: 'My dog sleeps on Fila, my dog sleeps on Fila, La la la la, La la la la.' Elms writes: 'Some of Coventry's top boys were sporting Fila, which had been the business but had gone out of fashion in London at least a month before. Instead of launching ourselves at them, we were lambasting them for such gauche sartorial tardiness. As it dawned on them they'd been outdone in the style stakes, you could see their will for the contest wane. They'd been beaten and they knew it.'
Casual, it is generally agreed, started in Liverpool when the Anfield team ruled the domestic and European scene. Liverpool fans supporting their team in the European Cup would travel to towns in Italy, Spain, Belgium or Switzerland and pick up classy Euro sportswear as trinkets. Trainers, ski wear, track suits were all lifted from quiet backwater sports shops. The practice was known as 'steaming' - there wasn't much a shopkeeper could do against 400 tourists piling into his shop and, locust-like, denuding it of luxurious tops.
It wasn't long before people were descending on sport stores with a razorblade to slice off the Lacoste crocodile and sew it on their own cheap three-button polo shirt from the local market. 'Taxing' became an epidemic, sparking moral panic stories in the Daily Express and Daily Mail, as kids were regularly relieved of their trainers, done over in the park for their Diadora Borg Elites or Adidas Trim Trabs.
For others, including myself, the seminal casual moment came at the Hammersmith Odeon, when George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley on the Wham!' debut Club Fantastic tour tormented their teen audience by putting shuttlecocks down their tight Fila shorts before batting them into the crowd. Wham! were the first band to sport the casual look, although their shiny, Marbella-tan style was deemed too 'poncey' for them to be taken truly seriously on the terraces. But, as Nick Love points out, casual was a fashion taken up by both working- and middle-class youth. 'The two main icons were Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe,' he says. 'This was a fashion that had its main shop window on the green lawns of Wimbledon, and you don't get more middle class than that.
Borg in particular, with his icy demeanour and humourless determination, is a strange fashion icon for such a lad-based culture, but he dominated the Marbella scene. In The Business, his poster and tracksuits are everywhere, and I recall a trip to the exclusive Puente Romano resort, where he was the club pro, to watch the great man give an exhibition match.
In the film, the lead character, played with winning vulnerability by Danny Dyer, steps out into Marbella society sporting his Fila shorts after a scene set in a boutique stocked with classic casual gear. 'I bought it all up myself,' says Love proudly. 'I was on eBay, bidding like mad because you just can't get the vintage gear any more.' Casual items on the site are now changing hands for up to £400, suggesting the revival is fully upon us. Sergio Tacchini, celebrating its 40th anniversary next year, has just agreed a high street tie-in across the UK's Burton stores.
According to Love, he struck a chord unwittingly. 'I just wanted to make a film about a subculture and get it right. It seems to be chiming with people. If you make Gosford Park, how many people in the audience will know if you're using the right teapot or dinner jacket? Not many. But if you recreate the 1980s, you'd better get it right or people in their mid-thirties will come and bawl at you. Clobber, music, Porsches - people were mad into this stuff and you can't mess with their memories."

The Business is the closing night premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival, 27 August. It is released nationwide on 2 September

Friday, August 12, 2005

Welsh Petrol Double Marbella Prices

The most high-profile reason for the recent rise has been an escalated terror risk in Saudi Arabia, one of the world's biggest oil exporters.

This has come shortly after the death of the Saudi King Fahd, a beloved patron of Marbella, drove prices up amid international nervousness about a potential hard-line new regime.

Enduring instability in the Middle East, including the American invasion of Iraq and concern over a resumption of Iran's nuclear impact, have all had a more long-term impact on the spiralling prices.

Political unrest in smaller oil producers, such as Nicaragua and Venezuela, are also having a greater impact than in previous years because the paucity of stocks mean disruption can be compensated for less easily.

There is also a growing demand for refined oil products, including both petrol and diesel, particularly as China's industrialisation develops at pace, and the American public continue to buy fuel-hungry SUVs (sports utility vehicles) in their thousands.
Although the prices of refined products, including petrol, and crude oil are not directly proportional, there is no doubt major rises like those seen in oil trading recently are having a major impact on what Welsh motorists are spending at the pumps.
British fuel prices are among the highest in Europe, with the basic cost driven up by a tax rate of 67% - higher than any country on the continent.

Unleaded petrol in Marbella, Spain, this week cost just over half the price of petrol at Wales' most expensive fuel stations, at 49p per litre, while a litre of unleaded petrol in Portugal yesterday cost 75.7p.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Spanish drought "failing to deter" property investors

Spain is currently experiencing one of the most severe droughts in European history, suffering conditions that have resulted in the withering of crops, drying up of rivers, and a water rationing policy at the peak of tourist season.

Traditionally, Spain has been one of, if not the most popular destination for holiday home investment, particularly among UK property investors. It would be assumed that the drought would act as a deterring factor for many investors. However, this may not be the case, with buyers showing evidence of sustained confidence in the Spanish property market, despite recent meteorological events.

Many investors are still putting money into Spanish properties, suggesting that buyers are looking further into the future than it might be assumed. Investment levels in popular holiday destinations such as the Costa del Sol remain high, and the property market has retained its buoyancy.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Five Continent Group starts Norway Virtual Tours

Five Continent Group: Specialists in Virtual Tours combined with Tourist Guides are based in the Costa del Sol in Marbella. The company has now expanded to cover Scandinavia & will soon be covering the Costa Blanca, Costa Almeria, Canary Islands, and a Spanish City Guide.

Every Hotel, Restaurant, Shop, Golf Course, Spa etc is presented by FCG in 360 degree virtual tours to enable potential clients to get a true feel for them, and include where possible menus, pricelists, location maps and more.

The first Restaurant in Norway to be publicized by FCG is Marna in Mandal, Norway with dozens more coming over the following weeks and months

Monday, August 08, 2005

Marbella feels the loss of Saudi king Fahd

Marbella Council announces three days of mourning for royal who spent millions in Marbella

On his last visit to the town, the king arrived with a fleet of jumbo jets, and about 3,000 family members, friends, camp followers and staff.

He booked 300 hotel rooms, hired 500 additional staff, and more than 100 new Mercedes cars arrived on transporters from Germany, where they had been leased.
By the time he left almost seven weeks later, he was said to have pumped more than ?90m (about £60m) into Marbella's economy.

For many years the Saudi ruler was a regular visitor to the southern coast of Spain during summer holidays.

King Fahd was probably the most illustrious person to take up residence on the Spanish coast during the summer. His death is a big blow to the local economy. The King built his own palace there - a marble and gold copy of the White House in Washington DC. And not just a palace: the Saudi ruler's Marbella property includes two mosques, a hospital, numerous swimming-pools and several massive villas.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Linekers Bar Puerto Banus

Linekers Bar Puerto Banus. Fully air conditioned, friendly staff and competitive prices. Watch all the sporting events from around the world on 24 screens including 6 plasmas.Linekers has the only fully licensed legal bookmakers in Puerto Banus open every day for all your betting requirements. Linekers has extensive facilities to cater for large groups of holidaymakers, hen and stag parties; including a VIP suite above the bar suitable for any occasion.The Linekers Upstairs Bar / Games Room is available for private hire for functions & parties. Linekers Group also run Portside, Premier & Disco Inferno in Puerto Banus.

Bohemian Nightclub in Puerto Banus

The Bohemian Bar & Nightclub in Puerto Banus opened recently to a hail of critical acclaim. Much along the lines of the Buddha Bars around the World, Bohemian has captured the niche market for Suave, Sophisticated Oriental & Indonesian decor blended with smooth tunes & a huge dance floor, private sections & late night license. Lovers of Banus nightlife who never want the party to end dance till dawn every night whilst rubbing shoulders with famous faces and celebrities from all over the World. Puerto Banus now has the coolest late night Bar in Costa del Sol...its official, and in association with Five Continent Group offers FREE ENTRY EVERY NIGHT to visitors to this site: Simply click on the five continent group webpage ( , find Bohemian and print your own flyer: save ?20!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Lure of Spanish sand, sea and sun is holding firm

By Jonathan Brown
Published: 05 August 2005

For those who thought the allure of a Spanish holiday had finally foundered in a raging sea of tacky souvenirs, buckets of cut-price sangria and vomiting tourists, news is at hand.
Two sets of travel industry figures have revealed that despite fears to the contrary, the traditional appeal of Spanish sand, sea and most importantly sun, holds firm. As well as strong visitor numbers to the Costas, more Britons are visiting Spanish cities - particularly Barcelona and Madrid.

From humble beginnings in Franco's Spain of the 1960s, when the first charter flights deposited white-kneed tourists to the Costa Brava, the army of British visitors has grown to 12 million a year and is still climbing. Those who have turned their back on the country as a package tourist destination for the relatively uncharted territory of Turkey and Bulgaria are being replaced by the legions that have bought their own villas and apartments there.
Four out of 10 new homes built on the Spanish coasts are bought by Britons.
According to Sean Tipton of the Association of British Travel Agents, Spain has been the number one destination for 40 years thanks to great value, copious infrastructure and, at the end of the day, a beautiful country with stunning weather. "We don't ever forsee it losing its position as the number one place to go on holiday," he said.

The latest findings from the Spanish Institute of Tourist Research have revealed a 2.7 per cent growth in British visitor numbers. Some 4.7 million travelled there during the spring - accounting for 29.6 per cent of all tourists.

And according to the airline easyJet, Spanish resorts are dominating its top five tourist destinations this summer. Malaga on the Costa del Sol, close to image-challenged Torremolinos, occupies the number one spot, with 1.5 million Britons having booked a flight there since March. Second most popular is Alicante on the Costa Blanca, where 1.1 million UK holidaymakers are due before the end of October, many of them en-route to the high-rise hotels of Benidorm.
Palma in Majorca comes fourth, with 750,000 expected there this summer. The best France can offer is Nice in third place with a million, while Faro, close to the Spanish border in southern Portugal, came fifth with 500,000.

Away from the coast, some 1.1 million will have boarded the low-cost carrier bound for Barcelona by the end of the summer, with 500,000 defying the sweltering heat inland by heading for Madrid. Distinctly cooler Amsterdam remains easyJet's number one city break destination with two million passengers due there this summer.
Jamie Wortley, easyJet's consumer manager, said: "The weather is clearly having an effect, with most Spanish resorts experiencing glorious sunshine. But people are also being more adventurous. Ten years ago they would stay at the same hotel for a fortnight. Now they are doing what was once the preserve of students and arriving at a destination, booking a hire car and travelling around to two or three resorts of their choice," he said.
In 2002, visitor numbers to Spain fell by a reported 20 per cent.

Top 5 easyJet beach breaks
Malaga 1.5 million
Alicante 1.1 million
Nice 1.0 million
Palma 750,000
Faro 500,000

Monday, August 01, 2005

Marbella seeks amnesty on illegally built Spanish properties

Officials in Marbella are seeking an amnesty on existing illegally built holiday homes, amidst fears that innocent buyers could face their properties being destroyed. Continued high demand for holiday homes in prime Spanish locations has led to the mass development of cheap properties along the coast, many of which were erected without planning permission. Subsequently, local authorities on the Costa del Sol are considering demolishing all illegally constructed homes, with a view to formalising house building in the region.

Out of the 45,000 or so properties that have been illegally constructed along the Spanish coast almost half are located in Marbella. For property owners in the region, concerns are mounting over the future of their homes. In a bid to resolve the issue officials in Marbella are now lobbying neighbouring councils to allow a full amnesty on al existing illegal builds.

"Those who have bought apartments in good faith should not be punished," Juan Sanchez, President of the Association of Western Costa del sol Towns, told the Guardian. "The costs of compensation should be assumed by developers or town halls," he added.

It is thought that somewhere close to a third of all of Spain's Mediterranean coastline has been taken up by the construction of new homes. Spanish environment minister Cristina Narbona, has announced a plan to buy up "ecologically sensitive" land and private property that prevents access to the beach, in a pre-emptive, protective measure. Authorities are yet to reveal exactly how much is being spent on the land purchases, which will take effect in "exceptional cases".

Over the course of 2004 Spain saw more new houses built than Germany, France and Italy combined, continuing a remarkable trend that has resulted in over 20 per cent of all Spanish properties being built over the past decade. Popular locations including Barcelona, Marbella and the Costa del Sol have seen a dramatic surge in house-building, meeting demand for modestly sized and priced properties in prime regions. Last year 54,000 people moved to Spain, some 15 per cent of the total number of people (360,000) who moved abroad overall, and it is thought that nearly 70,000 Brits currently own a holiday home in Spain.