Spain was booming in 2005.
Contributing to that was the EU money which was being poured into infrastructure.
Nearly 85 million euro for roading here:
Around 50 million euro for irrigation development here:
Vejer de la Frontera where we lived and the surrounding area were benefitting from both these projects.
The discovery by British people of the Costa de la Luz , helped by their favourable exchange rate and EU interest rates, added to the economic growth.
Jobs were plentiful in construction, renovation and service industries, particularly hospitality.
The positive impact of the new roading and irrigation are obvious four years later but the boom is over. Unemployment is around 18% in Spain and it’s higher here in the south.
The pound has fallen against the euro making Spain less attractive to British people, there are cheaper places in eastern Europe to visit or buy property in and the recession in general is having a dampening effect on tourism and the local economy.
We’ve noticed a lot more little bars and cafes in the town, partly a response to job losses as people set up their own businesses to make a living. But there are fewer people visiting them.
One cafe owner told us the busy season has been getting shorter and this year custom is more variable. Another told us he usually has 10 tables with at least eight full from 9am to late at night. Yesterday there were only two tables occupied at lunchtime.
The language school I’m attending has noticed a down turn too and that will have an impact on other businesses which accommodate, feed and entertain the students.
This is still a beautiful old town, with many old buildings and attractions of historical and cultural interest. It’s close to several long, golden sanded beaches with guaranteed heat and sunshine every day of the summer.
There is a lot to attract visitors, but until the recession is over fewer of them will be enjoying its charms and the local economy will be leaner because of that.