In Spain (without a passport!)
- By Richard Branson -
- Apr 16, 2012
In Spain today. We left the passports in England, but one of the advantages of being a recognisable face is I somehow managed to blabber my way into the country!
Thankfully Sarah Wiffen from the team at Virgin Active UK was flying out to Spain for the opening of the Madrid Capitán Haya, our 14th health club here, and has brought the passports!
Spain is having severe unemployment issues. They were building a million houses a year and that has dropped to 50,000. This has resulted in enormous unemployment in Spain, particularly among young people.
Companies like Virgin that can afford it need to keep expanding and our health clubs alone are taking on another 500 people per year. We’ll go from 14 clubs to 45 clubs over the next five years and we’ll invest €100 million into Spain and Portugal over that period.
Interestingly, lots of people who are out of work want to become health club members in order to keep healthy, meet people and have something engaging to do while they look for work. Something between five and 10% of our members here are people out of work. Our clubs are really good quality but most are quite affordable.
Tonight we fly to New York, which will be the third time I’ve been in the big Apple in the past week. Thank god for owning an airline!
By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group