British ex-pats are saying going bust in the sun is not fun as dreams continue to shatter

British ex-pat businesses across Spain’s Costa del Sol & Costa Blanca are going bust at an alarming rate especially in the hospitality sector.

The dream of moving away from Britains awful weather and fast-paced lifestyle for a more relaxed way of life in Spain is turning into a financial nightmare for many ex-pats.

Channel 4 TV show, A New Life In The Sun, the last recent years have followed ex-pats as they make the move out to Spain following the dreams of couples escaping the shores of the UK as they set up business operations.

Although now it appears that 80% of those businesses followed have gone bust in 2020 according to a business consultant based on Spain’s Costa del Sol.

The majority of movers to Spain from the UK set their sights on the tourist destinations of the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol regions.

The most popular route of opening a business is opening a bar or restaurant to attract the British holidaymaker.

Whilst the foresight of 300 days of sunshine and tills ringing, the reality now that the sought slower paced and relaxed life has been exchanged for wrangling nerves and depression for the majority as they lose their life savings and businesses.

As the disastrous summer season ends after a late start due to Spain’s National State Of Emergency that saw all businesses closed for nearly 3 months, the situation only looks even dire.

Heavy regulations are now applied going into the winter season, as the regional governments impose tough regimes of rules.

Smoking is banned on the street and in establishments, face masks need to be worn at all times unless sat at a restricted table, whilst at the same time Spain continues to linger on the British governments “unsafe to travel country list”

Unable to rely on British nationals business, business is dry of local Spanish residents as the country has millions of unemployed or on the government payment scheme known as the ERTE, the equivalent of Britain’s furlough scheme.

Spain’s coasts in winter are also normally full of Scandinavians who assist in making up the numbers during the winter season as they escape their harsh dark winters, although 2020 has also scared them off, leaving the coasts totally baron of customers, adding to the problems.

The resale market of business establishments has never been so flooded with establishments up for sale, that sees asking prices flop to the floor as desperate owners try to bail out.

Many businesses that would have been worth 100k plus are being offloaded for as little as 15k or sometimes less as owners try to cut their losses and grab what they can get before simply shutting up shop and losing the lot and their life savings.

One Bar owner in Los Boliches told Global247news, Gary Stevens said of the current plight:

” I’ve had my bar on the market since the end of the lockdown as I could see this happening, the problem is everyone else is doing the same and the markets being picked off by opportunists, this is just forcing down the prices to rock bottom as there is always someone willing to accept rather than lose everything,”

On Spain’s Costa del Sol in Benalmadena, some owners are even turning to Go Fund Me pages in a battle to survive and stop losing their businesses the market and trading conditions are that bad, one of those trying this scheme is Steven Sangster of the 76 bar who is trying to raise 10,000 euros so he can reopen as previously reported

” That’s how bad things are here – I can’t see their plan working, but good luck to them anyway – we are all though in the same boat,” said Stevens.

Meanwhile, other establishments are simply closing up and running back to the UK leaving a trail of debt behind them and since our first report on the matter, numbers have quadrupled.

High numbers of lock up and runs from Spain

“It’s no fun going bust in the sun,” told Neil Mitchell who recently had to shut up shop for good, ” I’ve watched my life savings dwindle from just under 300 grand to 20k after paying everything off and I regard myself lucky to get out when I did,” he says.

“British owned businesses are in serious trouble here and it’s only going to get worse, far worse, the dream is over, it’s a vicious circle,” he continued.

My advice, don’t think for 2 years at least of a new life in the sun, it will be your worst nightmare,” he advised.

Spain itself doesn’t look like recovering for a very long time as the country continues to battle now the second wave of COVID infections and is leading Europe in the statistics, leaving a very bleak future for hundreds of British ex-pats whose dreams are being shattered.

 


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