Spanish Islands Attract The Brits

By: Roger Munns

The number of UK visitors to the Spanish island of Majorca and her sister island of Menorca is at record highs - so what exactly is drawing more and more Britons to the islands?

Besides the bright, warm sunshine, sandy beaches and the warm waters of the Mediterranean? What more could anyone ask for? How about the fact that the largest island in the Balearic Islands Majorca is less than a three hour flight from the land of fog and mist that, while green most of the year, can wear on even the staunchest English personalities.

Besides that, Majorca, or Mallorca as many people call it, is an island that beckons travellers and then induces them to stay. The island groups, whose immediate neighbours include the islands of both Menorca and Ibiza have been drawing tourists and vacationers since the 1960s. It has, and continues, to promise ports of call for ocean liners, as well as major airports located near Palma de Mallorca, is destination for those seeking a glimpse into a rich history that still exists on the island despite its popularity with travelers. A blend of ancient and modern lives side by side, and visitors and residents can enjoy the history found in the 14th century Gothic cathedral near Palma, while those seeking a little more life may find plenty of excitement on streets filled with shops, taxis and beaches calling their names.

British expatriates living in Spain, and the islands of Majorca and Menorca especially, are finding true homes away from home in the southern climes as they attempt to reclaim little bits of calm amid growing populations, political machinations and the good old rat race. Nearly one million Britons have made their desires known that they will be moving to southern destinations this year alone, for extended vacations or permanently, and the growing number of those Britains who have registered to vote in Spain has risen by about 20 percent every year.

The trend toward expatriates becoming more involved with their new local governments and politics is also growing. Not only are Britains moving toward southern destinations, but other countrymen as well, including Romanians and immigrants from South America, Morocco and the Guineas. Spain seems to be the new frontier for many weary inhabitants of the crowded towns and cities of not only Great Britain and Europe, but for those on the other side of the globe as well. While this trend bodes well for the Spanish economy, no one yet knows what sort of impact the influx of expatriates will do for Spain's political destiny.

Today, in 2007, nearly one million former British citizens call Spain their new home, and nearly a quarter of those are eligible to vote in Spanish elections. While they are allowed to vote on national issues, they are still curtailed from voting in local or regional elections, but that may change in the near future as more immigrants arrive on the sun-soaked sands of islands like Majorca, where British voting trends have decided the results of some elections already.

The San Fulgencio area, located in the Alicante province of Spain, currently heads the lead in foreigners calling Spain home now, with three quarters of them being British. Majorca and Menorca continue to be the most popular destinations for many Britains looking for new homes, new horizons and new destinies, and only time will tell what this means overall for the Spanish people.

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