A small and sunny town in northern Spain is offering to pay Brits to resettle in an effort to boost the local economy.
The Asturian community of Ponga, population 598, will pay £2,600 per person to relocate to the quiet, mountainous region – with an additional £2,600 for each baby registered.
Bordering the Picos de Europea (Peaks of Europe) National Park, the region is surrounded by large lakes and sprawling walks through the countryside.
It neighbours the Cantabrian capital of Santander and the coastal city of Gijón, known for its football and manufacturing industries.
Southern European towns have set precedent in offering relocation incentives to foreigners – while others have made headlines for warding off certain tourists.
Old farmhouses near Sotres, Picos de Europa, Parque Nacional de los Picos de Europa
Old farm and houses Covadonga lakes in the Parque Nacional de los Picos de Europa, Asturias
The scenic town of Ponga has looked to attract families for some time.
Many of Spain’s rural towns are at risk of depopulation due to ageing populations and younger people moving to urban areas for work.
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The advent of remote work, urged along by the pandemic, has helped tourist boards look further afield for young people tired of the cities and able to dial in from anywhere.
Spain is now pushing to get its most remote communities online and offering large funds to businesses to help digitise.
El País reported last week that towns in so-called ‘España Vacía’ (empty Spain) had made the most progress in installing new ATMs, backed by 426,200 euros of public money, in a government bid to level-up the countryside.
In December 2021, towards the end of the pandemic, there were 243 municipalities nationwide with more than 500 inhabitants that lacked financial services like these.
The reversal is part of a wider bid to avoid depopulation.
Vall d’Ebo, a valley community in Valencia of 204 inhabitants, last year offered resettlers a reduced rent of 150 euros per month to move in.
Olmeda de la Cuesta in Castile-La-Mancha reportedly auctioned off plots of land for two-to-three hundred euros.
The village’s population has been reported as 21 and 43 in recent years.
In 2017, Candela in Puglia, Italy, offered 800 euros for single people willing to move to the town.
1,200 euros were offered to couples, rising to 2,000 for families of four to five.
In order to qualify for the cash incentive, new residents had move to Candela, rent a house and have a job with a salary of at least 7,500 euros per year.
It is a tough balance to get right, though, as the Ligurian hamlet of Bormida discovered in 2016 when the mayor was forced to retract a similar offer.
Daniele Galliano also proposed paying people €2,000 to move to his town but was forced to beg people to stop ringing him after thousands tried to take him up on his proposal.
Cyclists on one of the spectacular routes around the Parque Nacional de los Picos de Europa
Public swimming pools of the Ponga municipality with great views of the mountains
Ponga has developed a website for people thinking about living in the town.
Based on current property listings, a ‘rustic’ two-bed house in the village starts at about 15,000 euros.
A heated two bedroom chalet of around 100 square metres may set buyers back 60-80,000 euros.
MailOnline approached the council for comment.