25 August 2018
Overnight stays in Spain fell by more than 2% last month. The recovery of the tourist sector in other countries looks set to prevent the industry from reaching a new annual record.
Executives and experts from the tourism sector predicted that the passenger and occupancy records set in 2017 are unlikely to be repeated, at least for the hotel sector. Overnight stays in hotels fell by 2.2% in July compared to the year before, reaching 42.6 million stays, according to data released yesterday by the National Institute of Statistics (INE).
There was a noted reduction in both stays by Spanish tourists and those of foreigners, decreasing by 1.1% and 2.7%, respectively, in this high-summer month. On the other hand, hotels in Spain charged an average of 101 euros per occupied room, an annual increase of 3.1%, according to the same source. At the end of the season, despite the fall in overnight stays, Spain’s hotels are expected to have revenues that are broadly similar to those of the year before.
The president of the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodations (Cehat), Joan Molas, stated that the decrease had been expected and had already been noted in the previous months. This is partly because many competing tourist destinations have started recovering, leading them to attract many of the same customers who tend to visit Spain: tourists from the United Kingdom and Germany.
Josep Francesc Valls, a professor, specialising in tourism at Esade, does not believe that the figure for July is necessarily negative. “It was expected because the tourist activity in Spain had been growing due to endogenous causes that would be reversed at some point, and that is what is happening now.” The important thing, according to Valls, is the average cost, which is continuing its upward trajectory.
The two main markets, the United Kingdom and Germany, which jointly account for almost half of demand, saw overnight stays fall by 2.5% and 11.4%, respectively. During the first seven months of the year, the total number of overnight stays went down by 0.7% compared to the same period last year. In July, hotel occupancy also fell, reaching 71.1% of the total availability, a fall of 2.4% in relation to the same month of 2017.
Baleares, the Chosen Destination
The Baleares had the highest occupancy rate in July, at 89.5%; followed by the Canary Islands (80.7%) and Valencia (74%). Baleares was also the main destination for non-resident travellers in Spain, with 35% of the total number of overnight stays, increasing by 1.1% in comparison to July 2017.
Catalonia followed with 20.7% of the total, though overnight stays by foreigners fell by 6.2%. The most significant drop occurred in the province of Tarragona where the total number of travellers fell by 12% along with overnight stays. The biggest drop was by foreign travellers, down 17% compared to July 2017. Despite this, Molas stressed that with the available data on reservations for September point to a hotel occupancy similar to that of last year, with a clear recovery in the British, German, Belgian and Dutch markets.
The decrease in travellers and overnight stays in hotels in July contrasts with the record number of passengers registered in the same period in several airports. For the hotel manager, Joan Molas, this discrepancy confirms an increase in the use of illegal tourist flats.
Original Story: El Periódico de Aragón – Salvador Sabriá
Translation: Richard Turner