The Basque Country not only has a dynamic, rich culture, but also a flourishing, ever-evolving economy. The French part of the Basque Country has over 36,000 enterprises in a variety of industries that are in constant flux.
Predominant Basque Economic Activities
With its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and thermal spas, the Basque country attracts tourists throughout the year. The tourist industry is mostly concentrated in Labourd thanks to its charming coastal cities, but it is gradually developing further inland.
Although the public health crisis has certainly had an impact on the local tourism industry, the Basque country has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the region thanks to its involvement in several different economic sectors.
The Basque country is known for its high-quality food products certified AOP, IGP or Label Rouge. Its rich heritage coupled with mountainous zones, coastline, prairies, and wooded areas facilitate the production of world-class goods.
This sector has more than 5,300 companies according to the INSEE.
The most notable Basque food industries include:
- Espelette Pepper
- Cherry jam
- Sheep’s milk products
- Cured ham
- Fish and seafood
The Basque country is home to some major aircraft manufacturers, altogether creating roughly 4,000 jobs.
The largest aeronautics enterprises in the Basque Country:
- Dassault Aviation, based in Anglet, is a French aerospace company that designs and builds military aircraft, business jets and space systems.
- Safran (previously known as Turbomeca) in Bordes is a manufacturer of low- and medium-power gas turbine turboshaft engines for helicopters. The company also produces gas turbine engines for aircraft and missiles, as well as turbines for land, industrial and marine applications.
With such a significant local seafood industry furnishing products requiring chilled transport, it is no surprise that companies are facilitating the efficient movement of perishable goods.
Olano is a major chilled food transport company based in Saint Jean de Luz and has over 2,500 employees.
Surf + Skate
The Basque country is a major surf industry hub due to its proximity to world-class waves. Quiksilver is the leading global apparel company in the outdoor and boardsports markets. They create and distribute products under three core brands, Quiksilver, Roxy and DC.Based in Saint Jean de Luz and created in 1984, Quiksilver Europe’s Saint Jean de Luz headquarters house all operation and administrative staff.
Quiksilver is not the only major boardsports company in the Basque country. Volcom has offices in Anglet, and there are plenty of up-and-coming businesses found in the Basque country, such as Panther Surfboards. As for local apparel companies influenced by the rugged surroundings and surf industry, the brand 64 is the most notable.
The construction industry works anywhere there are people, and the Pays Basque is no different. This industry is expected to grow exponentially as more families decide to relocate to the Pays Basque.
The construction industry in the Pays Basque is by far the largest industry, providing 10,000 jobs and 3,000 companies.
Up-And-Coming Economic Sectors
The Basque country’s vast array of world-renowned, high-quality goods attracts non-local buyers who order online, more now than ever due to the crisis. Berets and makhilas are just a couple of examples of such unique goods that are highly regarded internationally. Prince Albert II of Monaco even ordered his very own Basque makhila.
As remote work is becoming increasingly commonplace, more people are moving to places that offer a superior quality of life. The Pays Basque is one such place, and newcomers are working for companies that are based all over the world. Thanks to an influx of new inhabitants who have spending power, local businesses are inevitable benefactors.
Since pretty much every business these days needs to have a respectable online presence, plenty of web-based companies have sprouted up throughout the Pays Basque, and anywhere else where people actually want to live since such work can be done remotely. Think SEO, internet advertising, web design, etc.
With restaurants closed and locals who appreciate the finer things in life, plenty of restaurants are staying afloat offering reasonably priced, gourmet take-out menus consisting of excellent products. EPOQ in Biarritz is one such example. Trallalla is a new pizzeria in Anglet that uses ingredients which are 100% Italian.
One of the best values in the whole Basque Country would be Chez Benat. This family-owned Hotel/Restaurant has a take-out menu (entrée, dish, dessert) all for a whopping 14€. The products are of high quality and everything is “fait maison”.
Are you looking to invest live and work in the Pays Basque? Our team at O’Plus Immobilier would love to answer any questions you may have and guide you along your journey. If you’re in the area, be sure to drop in and say hi! You can also check out the Brocante O’Plus, one of the largest and most diverse flea markets in the Pays Basque in which our offices are found.