Thursday, May 28, 2009

 

Random observations

I have had a close look at visitor and advertising statistics on a few of my sites today and spotted a strange contradiction in traffic and advertiser interest between the Galicia sites and the Asturias site – both neighbours in northern Spain.

As I have pointed out on several occasions, both traffic and revenue are substantially down for Galicia this year, yet when I compare this month’s traffic versus the same month last year I see that the Asturias site is actually up!

This is a “hard to explain” discrepancy as both regions lie next to one another and both offer a similar appeal to visitors. The only conclusion that I can draw is that the fall in overseas interest in Galicia must relate to the reduction in direct flights to the region since Ryanair cancelled the Liverpool route and cut down on the Stansted alternative.

There have been still more estate agent and property seller disappearances in Spain with this sector being hit harder than any other. Unfortunately this is compounded by the fact that there are so few good English speaking agents in the region – a big problem for anyone wishing to buy out there.

At some point I will touch on Spanish banks as my initial impression of their performance has substantially changed as they deduct more and more money from my account despite the fact that I never use it. So far almost 88 euros in 8 months and that is without me making a single withdrawal or writing a single check. It is an account that I will be terminating at the earliest opportunity.

Friday, May 22, 2009

 

Agents, weather and flying

With a good weather forecast from now until at least Tuesday, I decided to do some remedial work on our every day car in the form of touching up some paintwork. Needless to say it started to rain 10 minutes after I went outside and stopped 5 minutes after I went back in.

I hear through the grape vine that real estate agents in Spain are finding it harder than ever to sell anything and that many “misguided” agents in the south are now trying to salvage things by promoting (or at least seeking to) properties in the north. They will find little ripe fruit to pick there! Agents are closing down every week and there is no sign of a corner to turn around.

I now regret more and more our decision to fly from the distantly located Stansted airport to Santiago in July. We should have gone by ferry to Santander and driven our new sports car. The problem is that we did not have it at the time of the booking and consequently forked out around £500 in car hire and airport parking in the UK plus 400 miles of UK travel petrol. We will also have to leave at 1 or 2 O clock in the morning in order to catch the flight. The flight timing makes staying over with family in the south no less relaxing.

So, as I look out of the window, the weather is still pretty poor with bits of blue, but mainly grey. I just hope that the forecast proves accurate. Oh, and check out this great tourist guide to London called http://www.londonweekendbreaks.net with tips ideas and lots of useful stuff.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

 

general blog filling

Although it is something that I would rather not do, I have decided to consider having a small number of paid ads on Galicia Guide.

I tried this before and firstly gave the ads away and secondly had a lot of my time wasted, but I think that I may give it another shot.

I have been contacted by a number of companies over the last couple of years, all asking for an ad placement or some form of promotion and I have refused every one. I may well back-track on that approach and I will justify it to myself as regional promotion for the area!

How it will work in practice I have yet to decide, but it will need to be quick and simple for me or the time/cost ratio will become impractical.

The weather is actually supposed to be good in the UK this weekend.

With a national holiday on Monday this seems highly unlikely, but we will have to wait and see. With a new car in the drive and the chance to do some serious driving and CO2 pollution, some warm dry days will be very welcome. And, since the car costs a fortune to tax, I really want to get the twin exhausts pumping.

For anyone offended by that, forget the crap reeled out by governments and special interest groups. Every plant, tree and blade of grass on the planets feeds of CO2 and through photosynthesis converts it into oxygen for us to breathe. Basic biology tells us that if you remove CO2 you kill off every bit of plant life on the planet.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

 

Very short post

A whole range of preoccupations from buying a new car to seeing some distant (in location) members of my family have broken my usual twice weekly blog entry routine. They have also left me struggling for something to write about as my mind has not been spared sufficient time to think about Galicia or our July visit.

We have also spent quite a bit of spare time “on the road” on route to and from South Wales – a part of the world that I would strongly recommend anyone to visit. The scenery is beautiful and the people are friendly. It reminds me of Yorkshire 30 years ago before the onset of mass asian (and now eastern European) immigration and the destruction of our heritage, culture and way of life.

If you are Welsh or Scottish, then take every opportunity to vote for independence and save your nations from a similar and irreversible fate. Whatever you might think 2000 years of cultural evolution can be destroyed in 2 or 3 decades and it will happen before you realise it.

Save you country, people, culture, language and “way of life” and vote for politicians who put local matters first, or at least second after the expenses for their second homes!

For those considering spending time in the northern Spanish territories this summer expect to see a land and cityscape that is unspoilt by tourists. This is because you will see very few. Places like Galicia and Asturias really will be “unspoilt green Spain” this year as the economic downturn sees fewer overseas visitors than for many a year.

House prices!!!

Well there has yet to be a drop in that part of Spain.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

 

Some further thoughts on this blog being flagged

My blog no longer appears to be subject to a spam deletion, however this continues to concern me for one main reason.

With an MSc and thesis based around algorithms used for natural language processing (i.e. in line with the kind of thing that google robots do), I know that my blog cannot have been recognised by a spam robot as unsuitable.

That leaves one other option, namely a malicious email or an attempt by an individual to flag my blog.

Having given this some thought, a name springs to mind and I will now be looking through the IP address logs of recent visitors to see if the corresponding address shows up.

If it does (and you know who you are), you will find that messing around with someone who knows every underhand trick in the book is not a good idea. I will have your business site down in a week and your email account banned from all ISP’s.

Hopefully, my suspicions will prove unfounded, but given that this individual has told me previously of things that he has attempted to do to some of his competitors (of which I am not one), his intervention seems a distinct possibility.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

 

A waste of 5 years

Enjoy this blog while you have the chance as, after about 320 posts over a 5 year period, google/blogger have decided that it is spam and will delete it in 20 days.

At first I thought that their email was some kind of hoax, but astoundingly it is genuine.

Based on the fact that my blog is not spam and cannot be interpreted as such in any way by anybody (or a piece of web software), I must assume that either:

95% of all blogger blogs are about to be deleted, or

that I have been singled out for some “unknown to me” reason. Since I know no one at google or blogger this seems unlikely, but who knows

So, to all bloggers out there, do not waste your time for 5 years writing posts, expressing opinions and putting your views down on blogger. If they can view my long lived content driven blog as spam, then nobody is safe, so I suggest that you use another blog provider.

Bye

 

Why Galician tourism is slowing down

I mentioned briefly that hits to my websites based around Galicia had gone up over the last 2 or 3 weeks. What I did not mention was that, whilst visitor numbers were up, revenue in the form of advertising was still going down.

This unfortunate trend has continued to show an ever increasing decline and has its root cause in the fact that the various links and advertisements are not receiving the attention that they were enjoying up to a few months ago.

Naturally the economic downturn plays a part in all of this, but even so the decline is one that economics alone do not explain. At least not to me.

All told revenue is down by almost exactly 2/3 when compared to the equivalent period last year and this must be a major concern for anyone with a business based on tourism or property in Galicia.

I have seen a similar downturn in Asturias, but not in Barcelona (the south of Spain) or other areas of Europe.

Undoubtedly the removal of much of Ryanair’s passenger carrying capacity to Santiago de Compostela must have played a part, but even this cannot explain the downturn.

In April last year the “A place in the sun” TV show covered Galicia and then later Asturias and, with various repeats, this must have helped promote the regions to the British. So far this year the region and its profile have seen no such features!

So, with the credit boom dead, the economy in tatters and no media coverage of Galicia, the region is seeing a dramatic reduction in UK and USA based tourist interest. All of which actually makes Galicia a better place than ever to visit and it certainly ensures that external influences on its culture and social infrastructure will be kept to a minimum.

If you want to visit Galicia, here is some info on where to stay independantly - http://www.galiciaguide.com/Villa.html.

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