Many people are longing for the beach holiday they have been missing so much. / sur

Spanish tourism sector looks forward to a profitable summer

Hotels have put their prices up and travelling by car will be much more expensive, but tourists appear to be prepared to put up with the extra costs

EDURNE MARTÍNEZ Madrid

Before the pandemic arrived and dealt the tourism sector such a massive blow, the average price for a hotel room in Spain was 82.60 euros a night. Now, three summers and losses of millions of euros later, that same room will cost 95 euros on average, a rise of 15%. This gives an idea of how much the sector is recovering from the crisis, as bookings this year have exceeded all expectations.

Millions of foreign tourists are flocking to Spain again this summer, desperate for the sunshine and beaches they have missed so much. But rural tourism is also on the increase, as the CEHAT (Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation) has confirmed.

The increase in hotel prices has meant that revenue in the sector was higher in the second quarter of this year than it was in the same period of 2019 even though occupancy levels were slightly down. The latest figures from the National Institute of Statistics show that international visitors spent 8.02 billion euros in Spain in May, which was very similar to before the pandemic. The average spending per visitor was 1,152 euros compared with 1,028 in 2019, a rise of 12%. By day, they spent an average of 177 euros, which was 26% more.

With these figures on the table, the sector is optimistic about occupancy levels and turnover this summer, but it stresses that the rise in room prices do not fully compensate for the extra costs businesses are having to pay.

The Exceltur tourism association says most will only be able to recover 20% of the extra costs and its vice-president, José Luis Zoreda, refutes accusations that the sector generates inflationary tension. He says businesses in the sector are “victims” of high energy costs and raw materials, but are not passing these on to their clients.

High-spending international visitors

The best news for the sector is that foreign clients are coming back in droves and, according to Turium, an organisation which promotes quality tourism in Spain, some are choosing places such as Madrid which are not normally popular during the summer and many are booking at the last minute.

“In comparison with other countries, Spain is still competitive in terms of prices for restaurants, transport and leisure facilities,” said sources at Turium, for these visitors who have come a long way and tend to spent more when they are away.