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daily mail articleFollowing the Greek elections at the beginning of this week, the new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has declared that he will be overhauling the tourism industry, which the country heavily relies upon. In particular, he made specific reference to the All Inclusive holiday resorts, which he claims are ruining the local economy.... sound familiar? Much like Spain – and in particular resorts such as Benidorm, their economy is virtually reliant on the money bought in from tourism. The proliferation of All Inclusive hotels here has been the subject of much debate over the years.

solana boardNumerous local bars, cafes and restaurants have closed due to lack of business and they are all united as to the reason – the All Inclusive holiday package. There is divided opinion among holidaymakers about AI holidays. The TV show "Benidorm" portrays this perfectly – once the residents have their wristbands on, they virtually never venture out, eating and drinking solely at the "Solana" – or at "Neptunes" in the evening. The infamous catchphrase "If you want to get pissed, show us your wrist" certainly rings true, not only in this fictional series but in real life here, with the reasoning that if they have already paid why go out.

All Inclusive buffetGenerally the All Inclusive providers are large holiday corporations which budget as little as 10€ per person per day for food – or less in many cases. Because of their size they can squeeze suppliers on price, which local businesses cannot possibly compete with... and so the vicious cycle begins.

breakfast boardThis has happened in Greece and the new Government is looking at ways of restricting their hold on the holiday sector. Perhaps Benidorm should wake up and smell the coffee too before it´s too late. The meals offered at these hotels are often very repetitive, buffet style with the same type of dishes offered every day. Yet for 5€ you can get a Chinese 3 course meal with drink in many restaurants or a 3 course menu del dia with half a bottle of wine for under 10€ - at today´s exchange rate that is under 8 pounds!

closed barWalk around the Rincon area and it´s a sad site seeing so many small family run bars and restaurants closed down. Perhaps one option would be to end the drinks offered at AI hotels at a certain time – say 10pm so that people would venture out. The free entertainment on offer at most of the cabaret bars is one of the main attractions to the resort – and the only way they can make it viable is to charge a slight premium for the drinks. In comparison to UK prices it is still a bargain though.

hotel rialtoStrangely enough the Hotel Rialto in the Rincon de Loix, part of the Servigroup chain, has just been ranked as one of the top 25 in Spain for quality and price by TripAdvisor! The 3 star family friendly hotel has 133 rooms and is not All Inclusive – showing that there certainly is hope yet for the traditional holiday experience. Support the local economy. The more that go AI, the more local places will close, creating a ghost town and therefore discouraging people from coming as nothing is open - it´s a vicious circle! Benidorm is cheap enough - give everyone a chance to make a living.


0 #4 Dave Frost 2015-02-05 16:38
My wife and I have been saying for years that All Inclusive deals damage the economies of the relevant resorts. We visit Benidorm usually twice a year and have always resided on a half board basis. Even then, many a night, we skip the hotel meals, and dine out.
Unless there is some sort of action by the Spanish authorities, they will end up with Ghost Towns outside of the Holiday Camps.
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0 #3 Noaks6 2015-02-04 14:32
I agree with your article, the all-inclusive hotels are killing Benidorm. Benidorm and other resorts will become ghost resorts if the Spanish government don’t legislate to stop the all inclusive hotels.
You will end up with a town of mini Butlins holiday camps. Why go out when you have pre-paid all costs up front? Only a fool would do that.
I spend 6months of the year in Albir, I have witnessed the bars and restaurants closing down.
Congratulations to the new government of Greece if they do what they say and stop the all-inclusive. The problem will be that they can’t go it alone, it requires EU backing.
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0 #2 John 2015-02-03 11:17
Myself and my wife have been going to Benidorm for many years now and I also organise a group of 8 golfers every year. We always go all inclusive but only have a breakfast and an occasional evening meal along with a few pints at the hotel. We always make a point of eating out a few nights and spent most evenings in the clubs. I am not convinced that people who go all inclusive just go on holidays to sit in a hotel were the food is repetitive and the all inclusive drinks are, lets say, weak.
Do away with all inclusive at your peril
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+1 #1 Peter 2015-02-02 04:00
Irena I quite agree with what you say in this article. Unless a person is very old or otherwise infirm and thus not very mobile all-inclusive is not a good thing.
Who should want to be confined to their hotel venturing out very little?

When visiting Benidorm I book just bed and breakfast at the hotel.
I plan each day and using the ferrocarril (coastal tram line) or the Alsa buses I visit towns up and down the coast from Benidorm.
I enjoy exploring Benidorm’s streets and local shops; during the fiestas I enjoy the local Penyas' street parties.

Reasonably fit? Then trek over the Sierra Gelada to Albir or scrabble to the top of la Puig Campagna (Finistrat) or to the top of el Penon Ifach (Calpe).
Return to freshen up, out for dinner and then to a show.
Got children? You can book boat trips from the harbour or visit the fun parks.
One life - so much to do - go do it!
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