This week, the UK mainstream media has been awash with reports about Torrevieja, stories making the likes of The Mirror, The Star, GB News, The Telegraph, and more, and although there are many problems in the town, this attack has been based entirely on armchair critics, with reporters who have seemingly never even been to the town repeating comments from online portals.

Torrevieja, as the reports describe, being just down from Benidorm and “across from capital Madrid”, or around 466 kilometres away, which, for the benefit of the reporters in the UK, is actually the approximate distance from London to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, and is “known for long waterfront promenades which run along sandy, resort-backed beaches”… (Are we in the same Torrevieja?)

The root of the articles stems from Torrevieja being named as the Spanish coastal town with the cheapest hotels by price comparison publication Which? Which asked more than 1,200 people to give an opinion of Spanish towns.

The stories then went on to highlight the user generated comments on web portals, including one saying, “I was working in Spain recently and had the misfortune to end up in Torrevieja. In my opinion it is without doubt the most horrific place I have ever been, like a council estate with sun – except it was rainy on the day I had to go there”.

Another, “I think everybody should visit Torrevieja, it will increase their appreciation of all other places in Spain.”

A third, “Go to Torrevieja if you like your English breakfast and pizza’s because that is all you will get. I could not find a decent Spanish restaurant anywhere. All the restaurants on the promenade are pizzerias. You don’t even have to know a word of Spanish to get by because everyone in Torrevieja is either English or working in the tourism industry”, oblivious to the decline in the British population over the last decade, now with little over 4,000, around a quarter of what it once was.

Not to single them out for a reason other than they were the first to be most vocal, it is not the first time Torrevieja has featured in the likes of The Mirror, although historically, throughout the 70’s and 80’s, they played their part in encouraging Brits to buy, as newspaper archives reveal, with comments in the 70’s like, “Ideal for investment. Only five minutes from the lovely beaches of Torrevieja”.

In the 80’s, The Mirror featured quotes in their averts included the likes of, “A beautiful residential area by the sea with around 4,000 English already obtaining the benefits of a long relaxing life”, and “Everyone gets the same sunshine BUT Some get a better investment”, and “Invest in your leisure and the returns will bring you happiness”, all in the advertising to encourage people to partake in investing in the development of the town, albeit, they were getting paid to print those things at the time.

The message was simpler in the 90’s, with “Taste a little sunshine” promoting the town, “the bustling Spanish Resort of Torrevieja”, and “a favourite retirement spot for Britons”, amongst others.

Without shame, we have and will continue to highlight the problems facing the residents of Torrevieja, but our view on the ground is clearly a world away from the office-based web surfers generating clickbait based on a small number of comments, and these UK newspapers should not forget that they played their part in the creation of what they now decry.