Saturday, 11 June 2016

Expats Urged By David Cameron to Vote “Remain” At EU Referendum

Expats Urged By David Cameron to Vote “Remain” At EU Referendum

British Expats need asked to Vote to stay in the EU
UK Prime Minster David Cameron has said that the benefits for British expats will definitely still be on the table if the UK stays in the EU, while the future for them is unsure if the UK was to leave.

He delivered a speech at the headquarters of Easyjet in Luton in which he called for all expats living abroad to vote to remain in the EU if they wanted to guarantee their rights to live and work abroad.

The PM was rather passionate during his speech in which he talked about the benefits that expats receive such as reciprocal healthcare, their inflation-adjusted pensions, and the right to buy property, are only guaranteed if the UK stays. They are not guaranteed if the UK was to leave the EU.

Brits living in other EU countries are currently able to benefit from many agreements designed to allow people to move freely between member nations. Spanish expats are also able to benefit from the reciprocal healthcare agreement. This essentially means that the NHS pays the Spanish healthcare system to cover the medical costs of British people living there.

Spain returns the favour and pays for the medical costs of Spaniards living in the UK. This deal was arranged under the rules of the EU. David Cameron is unsure this agreement can last if the UK was to leave Europe.

Another deal in place for British expats is that their pensions in Spain will rise along with inflation each year. This deal was made under the umbrella of the EU. Without the EU there is a strong chance that such an agreement would be rescinded and British pensioners abroad shall have their pensions frozen instead. This is the case for British retirees living in places like Canada, Australia, and the USA.

When it comes to property it is definitely possible for a non-EU citizen to purchase property in Spain. Without the EU agreements however people have to jump through many hoops due to requiring visas, residency permits, and there is a lot of work involved in getting a mortgage. Brits are currently able to purchase a home in Spain with the difficulty, or lack of, that it takes to purchase a home in the UK. While it is true that Spain would no doubt want to set up an agreement to protect the British market, one of their strongest for real estate, there is also the chance that the Spanish government will see the Brexit as a chance to charge British buyers fees in return for keeping it simple.

It would be almost impossible for Spain to pass such fees and regulations while both countries remain in the EU.

Cameron and his other politican allies in the “Remain” camp such as Labour leader Jeremy Corbin, understand they need to speak carefully when talking about the EU. One problem with all the talk about staying and leaving is that there is no guarantee about what will happen if the UK does leave the EU.

Cameron took all of this and delivered a pitch-perfect speech, focusing mainly on the certainties of staying - with a focus on free movement, healthcare access, fewer regulations on buying property, and better pensions – over the uncertainties that could come from a Brexit.

It seems like all the campaigning from the Remain camp has managed to deliver the message.

Friday, 10 June 2016

It’s Official: Med Property Prices are Rising Faster than Spanish Average

It’s Official: Med Property Prices are Rising Faster than Spanish Average

The Mediterranean property prices in Spain have risen by an average of 4.4% over the past year. This is higher than the average for the nation overall.

An analysis of Spain’s property market performed by Tinsa, a real estate appraisal firm, has discovered that the value of homes in and around the Mediterranean resorts was rising faster than the average for the rest of the country.
Buying property in Costa del Sol is clearly on the up.

During the first quarter of the year property prices increased by around 4.4% on average in the Mediterranean when compared to the same period of time from last year.

This is over double the national average for the rest of the country. On average property prices have risen by 1.9%. In the more metropolitan regions there has actually been negligible change over the past year. The price trend is usually quite positive though. Prices seem to be rising month by month. They rose 0.8% between March and April after a rise of 2.1% between February and March.

Property prices on the Mediterranean also increased by 2.7% during the first quarter of 2016, compared to the last quarter of 2015. This is further evidence that the Spanish property market is stabilising while keeping property prices affordable.

The data from Tinsa also compared the property prices of today to the peak from 2007 and showed that property on the Costa del Sol is around 46% cheaper on average now compared to 2007. This represents an incredible “correction” of the market and is the most that prices of fallen over this period of time in any region.

As properties in the Costa del Sol are currently valued at higher than the national average this data would also seem to confirm suggestions that many of the properties on the market during the boom of 2007 were overpriced to some degree.

The market is far more sensible today, especially on the Costa del Sol. All of the things that made the area so appealing in the first place, such as the variety of properties for sale, the excellent infrastructure and location of the region, the climate, the healthy amount of expat-friendly locals with their rich culture, and the overall landscape of the area, are still there. Only this time the property is priced fairer and much steadier.

Any Brit looking to find an affordable property in Spain should take a look at the southern tip of the country to the areas with more affordable property prices. Take a look at areas such as Marbella and Málaga and see how property should be fairly priced.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Spain Officially Has The Best Beaches In The World

Costa del Sol has some amazing Beaches
Spain officially remains the best country in the world to take a trip to the beach. Spain managed to break the record it holds itself. The country now boasts 586 blue-flag beaches. Blue flags are only awarded to the cleanest and most environmentally friendly beaches and are awarded by the Association for Environmental Education and the Consumer (ADEAC), who also announced this news. 

This is nine more than the 577 blue flag beaches Spain had last year which means the country still boasts the most blue flag beaches in Spain, a record they have held on to since the awards were first handed out in 1987.

This statistic also means that one in every six of the best beaches in the world can be found in Span, and one beach out of five in Spain will have a blue flag flying.

There are four criteria involved in choosing whether a beach is blue flag worthy or not. They are the environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management and safety and services.

The best place in Spain was named as Valencia, which has 125 blue flags. Next came Galicia with 123, Catalonia with 98, Andalucía with 76, and the Balearic Islands with 45.

The country behind Spain in the rankings was Turkey with 444 blue flags. Behind Turkey was Greece with 430, France with 400, and Portugal with 315.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Spain Slowly Becoming Hollywood’s Favourite Backdrop Once More

Spain Slowly Becoming Hollywood’s Favourite Backdrop Once More

There was a time when Almería was the background for many US Westerns. Now it looks like Spain is becoming featured across many different genres.
Many of Hollywood's elite are visiting Spain

The 60s saw the Spaghetti Western – movies that appeared to be set in the dry and arid deserts of the American west. In reality these scenes were usually filmed in an arid desert, it’s just they were filmed in south-east Spain in Almería.

While the wagons aren’t in town anymore (though a theme park dedicated to western cinema still is) it looks like Hollywood and TV are coming back to Spain for filming.

One very famous example is Game of Thrones, the crown jewel of HBO. Some scenes from the show were filmed in Seville in Andalucía. Scenes recorded for season six were flimed in the Bardenas Reales nature reserve found in Navarra.
Major BBC show Doctor Who has even been filmed in Spain in Fuerteventura. One of the newest offerings of the BBC, Penny Dreadful, is to bring back the western heritage of Almería as many scenes were filmed in the desert there.
Spain offers filmmakers a large number of landscapes and envionments for their movies and shows. Spain has arid deserts, beaches, mountains and woodland packed into one country. The country also offers financial incentives to bring in film crews by making it cheaper for them through taxes (or lack thereof).
While these tax breaks might be better in other countries (France and Germany provide 30% and 40% tax breaks while Spain only offers 15%), Spain is cheaper in general to shoot in. This is according to the President of the Spain Film Comission (SFC) Carlos Rosado.
Mr Rosado said that the people of Spain are trained well and have a deep cultural heritage. The country itself is also easier to get around and better to spend time in. You can find yourself in snow on a mountain in the morning and be back on a tropical beach by the afternoon. Spain is a small country but offers a wide array of contrasting climates.
As the film industry continues to evolve it becomes easier and cheaper for film crews to travel as they don’t need to lug around tons of equipment and staff anymore. Spain itself also has plenty of equipment and is well supplied and able to give the film crews anything they need. They are able to provide more than just extras for scenes. Spain is also able to offer electricians to fully qualified actors.
Spain is getting a lot of benefits from this too of course. They have seen a rise in tourism and information thanks to tourist trails where fans travel to the locations scenes from their favourite shows were filmed. They have also experienced an economic boost thanks to the services, hotels, and local work being done by filmmakers.
To provide an example; around €800,000 was spent in Spain during the production for the film Exodus starring Christian Bale. Spain is also building a solid reputation among filmmakers. If they continue to please HBO then this makes Spain even more popular and brings in even more work for the local industry.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Is Spain Becoming Too Popular With Tourists?

Is Spain Becoming Too Popular With Tourists?

Spain is seeing another great summer in terms of tourism. It’s getting so good, in fact, we have to ask if Spain is becoming a little too popular.
Spain is so popular with tourists
Spain is used to seeing the beaches filled to the brim during summer. People visiting the Costa el Sol, Costa Brava, the Canaries, and any other popular destination, will have trouble finding a piece of the beach to call their own. For a while this was even part of the appeal.

Spain just isn’t Spain if the restaurants and bars aren’t packed, if the night clubs aren’t pounding out music, and if the roads are crammed. This is, oddly enough, one of the big appeals of Spain. It’s a week or two of fun with a backdrop that seems to almost never stops. All this actually serves to show how Spain is able to handle all of these tourists and continue to work perfectly even when full.

It’s beginning to sound like things are getting a little too bad though and Spain could be experiencing tourism fatigue. It’s been suggested that Spain could literally sell out and that more people than ever will be flocking to the country this year. Majorca and Barcelona may become so packed it becomes a risk to the eco-system and historical sites. Spain really is becoming just a little too popular.

This year will definitely be a big year for Spain. People looking for fun in the sun will usually spread themselves across the entire Mediterranean but not this year. Now there is too much danger in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, and Turkey. Spain is getting most of the tourists that would otherwise have gone to these countries.

It’s expected that 28% more people will be visiting Ibiza on a cruise ship this year. In Spain it looks like 20% more people could visit in 2016. Palma airport, a major airport in Majorca, has worked hard to increase their capacity and can now handle 100 flights a day. Last year they were able to handle 66 flights a day.

The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, has agreed that large groups of tourists should be banned from entering the La Boqueria market during certain times in the day. He has also said that no more licenses for tourist accommodation will be handed out. He’s spreading the very clear message that the city is full.

This news is bound to be welcomed by local businesses that rely on tourism. Other people feel that the problems are starting to mount though. Majorca is already trying to stop this popularity from being their downfall. They’ve got stated by introducing a €2 a day eco tax. This Spanish tax comes into effect on the first of June and the money will be used for environmental conservation.

The president of the Balearics, Francina Armengol, has expressed concern that the amount of money waiters are bound to make could discourage people from trying to get into a more professional field.

There is no denying that these concerns are legitimate, and there are some countries that would welcome these kind of “problems”, but there is a good reason that Spain is popular. It’s about balance. That balance could very well be tipped this summer.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Tesco to Work with El Corte Inglés to Sell UK Goodies in Spanish Stores

Tesco to Work with El Corte Inglés to Sell UK Goodies in Spanish Stores

Its fantastic news for Brits wanting some more home goodies
El Corte Ignlés is known for having it all and, pretty soon, it will have some goodies from Tescos sent from the UK in their stores.

Brits have never had it too tough to get their hands on their favourite foods and goods from home. It’s about to get a whole lot easier too thanks to Tesco signing a deal with Spanish department store chain El Corte Inglés to bring in some of the best of Britain.

The agreement will mean that El Corte Inglés will soon have Tesco-supplied British goods all across Spain such as teas, biscuits and cereals.

This news will no doubt be welcomed by Brits who will be eager to get their hands on even more British goods rather than the local cuisine. The deal also allows Spaniards living in the UK to get a taste of home. This ‘contra’ deal works both ways as Tesco shelves will soon be the home to a range of El Corte Inglés specials.

El Corte Inglés became a player on the British scene last year when they put their products in five Tesco stores in London on a trial basis. The trial worked so well that their products will be entering a wider market including Brighton, Edinburgh, and Cambridge.

This deal gives Tesco a chance to enter the Spanish grocery market as the cost of living in spain is so low which is going to be good for the British chain. They already have a presence in several other European markets such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland, but have been unsuccessful in some markets such as France and Germany.

As this deal works both ways it should help Tesco edge their way into the competitive Spanish market successfully.

Tesco released a statement saying the deal is part of their promise to always deliver new and exciting products to their customers through their world food range. They are trialling the products right now and are excited to see the results.