By Humphrey Carter
THE number of British residents in Spain reached a record high last year with the Balearics being the most popular destination.
By the end of the year, there were half a million Britons living in Spain and not all of the new arrivals were “Beckham” correspondents for the national newspapers. The Balearics is the most popular destination with 30 percent, 150.000 British residents having set up home here in the islands.
British Ambassador to Spain, Stephen Wright, said yesterday that the Canaries comes a close second as home to around 100'000 British residents.
Andalucia is home to 15 percent, Valencia 12 percent and Cataluña 10 percent.
Although there is a steady increase in the number of professional people and young families coming to Spain, according to the Ambassador, for the large part, most of the half a million British residents are retired couple. “The climate is very agreeable and the cost of living attractive,” Stephen Wright said yesterday at a “Food from Britain to Spain” presentation in Madrid. However, Stephen Wright said that there has been a noticeable increase in young Britons coming to Spain to continue and broaden their professional career “and they are becoming increasingly important to the Spanish economy,” Stephen Wright said. However, with regards to future growth of the British community in Spain the Ambassador admitted it was difficult to tell “but judging by the significant increase in numbers over the past ten years, it's quite likely that the numbers will continue to grow.” “Spain is a very attractive and welcoming country for the British, a country which has reliable authorities which will not give them any problems, and this all helps to make the British comfortable,” the Ambassor explained. The same can be said for why 14.5 million Britons came to Spain on holiday last year. The vast majority come for “sun and sand” Wright admitted, although he was quick to add that an increasing number of British tourists are coming to Spain in search of other attractions “such as the culture and monuments.” Wright said that the cities of Toledo, Segovia, Madrid and Barcelona are all becoming increasingly popular with the British.
However, Spain's commercial relationship with Britain is not just about tourism.
The UK exports 1.161 million euros of food products to Spain ever year. Obviously the British community is the biggest client, but more and more Spanish consumers are buying British products, something British exporters are keen to further develop.


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