Majority of Foreign Tourists Opt For Vacation Rentals

10/10/2014 – Expansion

The news on the new record tourist flow registered during summer months of July and August reporting a 7.4% advance in the number of foreign visitors, soon also revealed less positive data for the hotel sector. In traditional establishments, tourist receipt rate grew by a mere 0.4%, whereas homes for rent enjoyed by 19.1% greater popularity than in 2013. The information has been provided by lobbying organization Exceltur.

Thus, out of the 1.2 million tourists who visited Spain in July and August, only 16.8% stayed in hotels, 15.4% in their propietary dwellings and a staggering 57.8% in a rented apartment. ‘The fact hurts the sector profoundly as large part of these flats are illegal, additionally enhancing unfair competition’, complains vice-president of Exceltur, Jose Luis Zoreda. The spokesman of the lobby also meant other alternative services like the one provided by Airbnb, a web site which intermediates between property owners and tourists.

Year-to-date, the gap slightly narrows as regulated overnight stays went up 2.7% from January throughout August in reference to the same period of time in 2013, for the benefit of a 14% rise in renting by foreign tourists. The losses affect more the accounts of the establishments ranging from one to three stars (2%), while higher category hotels are more resistant to the effect, still registering a 6.1% increase.

As a result, tourist expenditure accumulated by August dipped down by 4% in real terms and averaged at €706 per visitor. This particularly means the biggest decline since 2006 and the 14th consecutive fall.

Next cause of the effect is related to decline in the average stay which, rooting down to low-cost flights, stood at 4.82 days over July and Agust, juxtaposed with 4.97 days in summer 2013. Exceltur also assigns the phenomenon to the arrival of less tourists with travel packages as political stability in Egypt returns.

Tourism & GDP

In spite of all, the sector is still the main engine of the country’s economy as its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of Spain increased by 2.9% in the third quarter in reference to the same period a year earlier and it is estimated that by the end of 2014, it will have averaged at 2.4%, doubling the outlook for the entire Spanish economic growth set at 1.3%.

On the other hand, employment in the sector took a step forward with creation of 65.030 jobs more in year-on-year terms. Specifically, restaurants employed 51.700 new workers, the accommodation segment gave 11.550 jobs, while travel agencies – 1.780. Also, other areas closely tied to tourism signed more work contracts, such as the air transportation (523 jobs more) and the leisure activities area (8.761 new positions).


Original article: Expansión (by Pablo Cerezal)

Translation: AURA REE