Popular among groups celebrating hen nights, stag do’s and birthday bashes, Benidorm has gained quite a reputation over recent years, what with its adult entertainment, bar lined streets and all-inclusive hotels.
However tourism chiefs plan to turn Brit-infested Benidorm into the Las Vegas of Europe by allowing luxury hotels to open casinos.
The tourist trap, which attracts a million Britons a year, could soon become a mecca for gamblers if proposed changes in the law are approved.
The plans have the backing of tourist officials who hope the changes will attract bigger-spending holidaymakers to eastern Spain.
Hoteliers association Hosbec take the credit for coming up with the plan, which has the backing of Benidorm’s town hall.
Toni Mayor, chairman of Hosbec, said: “It’s important to do it as quickly as possible, as our future depends on attracting this type of tourist.’
Currently, the average tourist visiting Benidorm spends £54 a day, falling well below the average £83 for the whole of Spain.
However last year the tourism hotspot suffered its lowest visitor arrival figures in two decades, as the recession took its toll on local businesses and tourists alike.
Despite a drop in visitor arrivals last year, the resort is still one of Europe’s most visited tourist destinations, attracting around six million visitors each year.
Rising to stardom in 2007, ITV’s hit show ‘Benidorm’ boosted the resort’s name and profile as millions of viewers tuned in week after week to watch Johnny Vegas’ hilarious series. The show peaked in 2008 when it was nominated for a BAFTA and won a National Television Award.
The programme showed Benidorm as it’s stereotypically known, with tight-fisted Britons taking advantage of the hotels all-inclusive, the sexy bar staff seducing blonde-haired Brits and its guests, from all walks of life, soaking up the sun and appreciating the cheesy evening entertainment.
A fifth of the resort’s 70,000 population are British and there are more than 600 bars, including 70 British-themed pubs.
So why change something that isn’t broken? With tourism back on the increase, surely if Spain holds out long enough, tourists will flock back for the same reasons they always have, but if the changes are made, who’s to say that Britons will be able to afford the increased prices or will want to pay them?
Only time will tell what the future holds for Benidorm, but one thing’s for certain, Britons love what Benidorm has to offer, so will they if it’s changed? We shall see…