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HOME FROM HOME IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

May 17th, 2010

One of the big questions I ask myself about Benidorm is “ Why does the Hotel Industry together with the Local Authorities always seem to have to defend the name of Benidorm?

Its incredible , that we still have to go out and defend a tourist destination that continues to be popular , that continues to draw the crowds all year round and is a holiday resort synonymous with a Hotel Industry that has an excellent price/quality relationship and convince the Tourism Industry that we are still a force to be reckoned with and that we can still attract people to come here in the 21st Century.

As I´m writing this ,its Easter Sunday, the temperature is 20ºC, the beaches are full, the street are lively , the shops ,bars and cafes all open for business . Basically this could be August!!

Benidorm is often though of as a predominantly British resort The truth is that over 50% of our visitors are Spanish. They continue to flock to Benidorm because of the atmosphere, the climate and the reassurance that they know what they are going to get. This is why we are virtually full this Easter.

I ,ve worked in many Spanish resorts through the years and my opinion is that Benidorm remains popular because it is still very Spanish. Its a town with history, has a working population with its fiestas , traditions, its own cuisine and yet has the knack of accommodating all nationalities, knowing what they need and ensuring that it keeps up to date with its Theme Parks and Safari parks and Water Parks ,making sure there is something for everyone.

You never feel that you are in a man- made soulless holiday resort . In Winter , Benidorm is not a deserted ghost town like other popular resorts. The two main palm tree lined promenades are still enjoyed by thousands everyday walking up and down enjoying the sun and soaking in the atmosphere created by the music coming from the bars and cafes .

Moreover, I,ve noticed a subtle change over the last few years . Its not just older people that come to escape the bitter winters of their homeland.. I ´ve noticed more younger people and couples who come and enjoy long weekends . Enjoy the Spas in the hotels, dine in the restaurants and enjoy the many walks around the area..

WHY?

Benidorm is just 3 hours flight away from Northern Europe and a few hours drive from Madrid or Northern Spain .It has climate that is the envy of other western Mediterranean resorts . It has over 2,900 hours of sunshine a year with an average temperature of 14ºC in the winter and 29ºC in the summer and air pollution is virtually nonexistent . For me winter is one of the main attractions that Benidorm has .

Our visitors feel they have escaped the everyday routine of home but are at the same time offered the reassurance of a place that feels like home but has a better climate, still feels foreign , is never boring and on top of everything else still has some of the best beaches in Spain .

Now I know why Benidorm is what it is. Its full of Spanish , British , Dutch, Belgians, Russians and other nationalities and they all feel at home. l When you walk the streets , especially in the old town you can hear all the mix of different languages . All these visitors and residents have one common purpose. To enjoy themselves in a sunny ,safe, Mediterranean environment.

Have I gone back to the old routine of defending Benidorm ? No.

I ,ve just explained and reminded myself why I´ve lived and worked here for over 19 years and decided to bring up my family in Benidorm .

I just feel at home.!




The new Benidorm

March 1st, 2010

The other day I was talking to a friend from the North of Spain who I hadn’t seen for al long time and asked him when he  was coming to see me  in Benidorm after so many years.

His reply was: But its full of older people!

I then asked: When was the last time you were in Benidorm ?.

He answered : It must be about 15 years ago.

I then said: How can you say that if you haven’t been here for years. I don’t think you have a clue  what Benidorm is like nowadays.

It was then that I realized that as a destination we have been incapable of communicating to our tourists the changes that have taken place in these last few years. Large unproductive  amounts of  money have been  spent on marketing, press, trade fairs etc and people who have either not been to Benidorm or have not visited in years still use  adjectives , normally derogatory to describe Benidorm.  Those visitors who come here on a regular basis do not have the same opinion.

Although I am proud of the fact that we have “mature” tourists  who visit our Town, I don’t agree with my friend , as we have a wide variety of visitors, from older couples , young people and  families who are our most popular type of visitor. Therefore, I thought I would comment on  a few things that you probably don’t know about Benidorm.

Sunny days are guaranteed 350 days a year with a temperature that does not fall below 15 –18ºc .The beaches  are the same as ever but now have two promenades , the last one  was inaugurated a few months ago, they  both have fantastic walks to enjoy.

Did you know that we have no fewer than 4  Theme Parks. Terra Mitica , a park for everyone, Terra Natura  , a majestic superb animal park representing the five continents. Aqualandia, , a waterpark which is probably one of the most visited in Europe and Mundomar an animal park with a dolphin show.

We also now have two 18 hole golf courses and a pitch and putt, each offering spectacular views of the town and the Mediterranean sea. There are also 30 golf courses within one hours driving distance.

Not only do we have a large entertainment theatre called the Benidorm Palace  which seats over 1000 people and which puts on shows that match those seen in Paris but we also . all the bars and clubs  that put on their own shows and entertainment.

The construction of the new Benidorm Cultural Centre with a capacity for 700 people will be completed in 2011. We will therefore, also be a destination  for conferences and conventions.

We offer Hotels and Holiday Apartments that specialize in all types of markets , family, all inclusive , gay  and even hotels specializing in Holidays for couples like our very own Hotel Levante Club, the only hotel in Benidorm exclusively designed for adults.

Of course we can improve many things in our town, the urban landscape, our tourist offices, our clubs and discos that need updating, our urban transport system etc

However, do you know a place that offers all these things I mention above ?. Benidorm is often compared to other tourist areas without appreciating the fact that Benidorm is one single destination and not a few towns grouped together.

You may think that my comments are quite passionate but if you come and visit us you will see for yourself that I am right and that my friends views are completely wrong.

What do you think ?

I hope that I have been able to  show what Benidorm is today. Have a look at the video  that you can find in our blog about Benidorm.

Kind regards

Erik Devesa

Managing Director – Commercial Area

Grupo Centauro






THE QUALITY OF THE HOTEL AND HOLIDAY APARTMENT SECTOR IN BENIDORM.

February 2nd, 2010

I have travelled extensively in the past few years all round Spain and also some areas of Europe, both for work and leisure. One thing I can assure you is that Benidorm and the Comunidad Valenciana in general  have an excellent Hotel and Holiday Apartment infrastructure difficult to beat because of the quality of the product and also the excellent price quality relationship.

I do not say this lightly. Even though its easier for Benidorm Hoteliers to judge and appreciate the quality that the sector has to offer , there are many good reasons that can prove what I m saying.

1-It s a fact that Benidorm is one of the Spanish destinations that has asked for less financial help from the  Spanish government for the renovation of the infrastructure of the tourist sector. This is due to the fact that Benidorm businessmen, aware of the strong competition  of other destinations , have been continuously renovating their hotels year after year adapting  them for the changing markets and  clients needs. As well as the effort made by the business community, the local authorities have also contributed in the improvements of our hotel sector with the creation of laws that have helped in the construction of excellent 4 and 5 star hotels.

2- As well as the national legislation, the hotels and apart-hotels of the “Comunidad Valenciana” follow a specific regional legislation much  stricter than in the other regions of Spain, in terms of fire inspections, public health, food hygiene etc… Many tourist destinations in Spain  only stick to the national legislation.

3-At present Benidorm is  one of the tourist areas with the most official Quality Plans in Spain , for example the  ISO 9000:2001”, and “Q” certificates  for quality tourism. There are also certificates for , “excellence in  kitchens”, quality plans for the environment etc. Moreover Benidorm Hotels have won many awards given every year by Spanish and international  tour operators in recognition of the high level of service and quality. Most of the hotels in Benidorm also have their own quality coordinators exclusively dedicated to the improvement of their establishments.

4- We constantly receive visits from external auditors sent by  the main Tour Operators that have customers in our  area.

5- It is one of the tourist destinations  that has the latest innovations in both energy and  water saving.

These differences are highlighted more  if we compare them to Hotels and Holiday Apartments in Europe. In many countries  tourism legislation is  light years away far from any Spanish Tourism legislation.

If we add to all of this  the high level of repeat business of our clients and  the fact that the hotel occupancy in Benidorm this year was 74.6% (Benidorm has been the only  Spanish municipality that  has been in the top 10 destinations with the highest Hotel occupancy  nine months out of twelve) it undoubtedly makes Benidorm a unique holiday destination.
Erik Devesa Sik
General manager- commercial area

Grupo Centauro




Dear clients:

January 25th, 2010

It´s a pleasure for me to inform you that today we are officially inaugurating the “Hotel Levante Club” blog, a company that belongs to Grupo Centauro.

In this blog, different managers within our company structure will communicate  directly with you on a regular basis, giving  our opinions on  various subjects that we think you may find interesting. Therefore, we will write a small article, minimum once a month , that reflects our opinions on subjects that we consider important in the world of tourism for your information and more importantly your feedback. The idea is not to be sensationalist or controversial, but  I  would just  like to make you appreciate and perhaps become  more  interested in the various  aspects of our sector that you may not be aware of.

We would like you to send  any suggestions to blog@hotellevanteclub.com and help us discuss subjects of your interest.

We hope we don t disappoint your expectations and that you can share our comments with your friends, because the more of us involved, the more interesting and nourishing will be our discussions.

Maybe you are already subscribed to other blogs regarding the world of tourism but the majority of them are not written by people involved in the company.

Looking forward to receiving your comments.

Best Regards

Erik Devesa Sik
General manager- comercial area

Grupo Centauro




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