Crisis what Crisis?
Oh how nice it would be to be able to write such a headline and mean it, but sadly we can't. Since the banking crash in 2008 we have all been suffering and many businesses have not survived. Expats on the Costas are badly hit, both by low interest rates on their savings, a poor exchange rate when converting their pensions to Euros and of course the ever-rising cost of living.
No fun for the retired
Help the Aged report increasing numbers of pensioners struggling financially in Spain and many wish to return to the UK but can't due to the collapse of the housing market.
It isn't all gloom however and as can be seen by many of our regular advertisers they are fighting back strongly and some are even doing rather well. One such business is that of Restaurante Cantueso in Periana where the owner Nicky Scott reports that 2012 was a Curate's egg of a year, with cottage rentals being the best since she took over in 2007 and yet the restaurant suffered due to the downturn in tourists. If this seems to be a contradiction Nicky explains: “There are fewer tourists coming to the area but those that do favour a self catering holiday as it is so much cheaper, and we have a spectacular location overlooking Lake Viñuela with facilities to match.”
A Pig is not just for Christmas
She went on to explain that over the last few years they have concentrated on the family market and made sure the cottages have everything a family might need. Television and Wi Fi are expected as standard and a family with small children or a baby can forget travelling with buggies, sterilisers, baby alarms, changing mats, cots, toys and much more, as they are provided. And moreover each cottage has been made child safe with a fenced terrace which creates a secure area for the very young to play in. One Spanish family staying over Christmas took advantage of this security in an unexpected way and brought along the family's pet pig!
Nicky feels that part of Cantueso's success is down to their marketing which has seen many initiatives aimed at a worldwide market and last year yielded visitors from over a dozen different countries. Their live webcam attracts over 2,000 hits each week and they have a website in five languages (properly translated Nicky is quick to point out), and a blog that has a steadily climbing readership approaching 3,000 per week.
Nicky also told us that during the winter close-down of the restaurant they have not been idle and have trialled new menu ideas, and will re-open on 1st March with an extended Tapas menu and other variations designed to suit all pockets. Chef Carmen Muñoz and her team will be cooking as usual and making sure they keep the locals and visitors coming back for more.