Second Homes — True pillar of Menorca’s economy?
There is no doubt that tourism is the mainstay of the island economy, but what activities are included in the calculations? Let’s see why second homes have an important impact on the local economy.
Tourism accounts for 40% of Menorca’s GDP and thousands are employed in seasonal jobs. Many more, however, operate or work for businesses that serve second homes. Are these activities in- included as ‘tourism’ when the figures are calculated?
Typically, tourism figures look at hotel beds and cruise ship arrivals. The income generated by these businesses is relatively easy to track and quantify. Yet often, their benefit at a local level is minimal: with meals, drinks, and activities all available at no extra cost at all-inclusive resorts, these visitors spend little in local businesses. Cruise ship visitors equally tend to eat and drink on board, and purchases on the island often amount to no more than a snack or a souvenir.
SECOND HOMES SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS.
Those who own second homes on the island, however, spend a significant amount not only on their day-to-day living costs while in Menorca but also on the upkeep of their homes. These visitors shop for groceries and other goods, patronize bars and restaurants, rent cars or taxis, and book leisure activities and excursions.
Many also employ builders, painters, and decorators for home improvement jobs, gardeners and pool cleaners to maintain outdoor spaces, and property management services to look after their homes when they are away. Second homeowners support a huge variety of local businesses.
A study by Obsam estimated that 30% of homes in Menorca are second homes. That’s some 15,000 homes that are owned by people not ordinarily residents on the island, who are using myriad services to maintain and improve their homes.
Additionally, many owners who have tourist licenses rent their homes when they are not using them, bringing in more tourists, who typically spend more at local businesses than hotel guests.
PORTAL MENORCA SURVEY
Although a number of organizations have, over the years, sought to quantify the impact that second homes have on the economy, there is little up-to-date data. At Portal Menorca, we believe it is essential to get a clear picture of the revenue generated by second homes so that the benefit of foreign ownership can be more clearly defined, and therefore encourage policymakers to prioritize this aspect of our economy. Portal Menorca will therefore be conducting an in-depth study of this in the coming months and welcomes any feedback or input from readers who own second homes in Menorca.