Credit crunch hits Spanish tourist sector

Due to the current economic climate coupled with the strength of the euro Spanish beach resorts have received much fewer visitors this year. Where there was once a queue for renting a sun bed or sunshade there are now rows and rows of empty sun loungers available for hire on many Spanish beaches and where once hotels and restaurants had to put up signs saying they were at full capacity they are now putting up signs offering special deals because of the drastic reduction in numbers of tourists this year in Spanish holiday resorts. And to make things worse, those tourists who have remained faithful to Spanish destinations are spending much less than before.

The reduction in visitors to Spain can be partly explained by the strength of the euro against the dollar which has led to many people opting for more exotic holidays to destinations in the Caribbean or other parts of the Mediterranean.

It is estimated that tourists have spent up to 30% less than in previous years and according to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism 8% less foreigners have visited Spain so far this year.

The Spanish Coordinator of Hotels has spoken of a decrease in Spanish tourists visiting resorts of up to 8 points compared to last year. Northern resorts together with the Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol and the Costa Dorada have all seen the numbers of tourists visiting their resorts go down in 2008. In contrast campsites in some areas have been fully booked all summer. The outlook for 2009 appears to be no better.

Some hotels have seen their profits drop by as much as 15% this summer which has led to some attractive offers some of which are detailed in El País today.

  • In the Balearic Islands apartments are available for as little as 200 euros a week (a third down on prices last year)
  • In Ibiza many clubs are not charging 60 to 70 euros entry fee as in previous years without a free drink
  • In the theme park Terra Mítica near Benidorm there is now a free entry area and discounts are being offered for the rest of the park.

  • Nearby Terra Natura is offering night time visits with barbeques and discounts to its waterpark.
  • Many hotels are offering all inclusive deals or two drinks for the price of one and some hotels in the Costa del Sol are offering full board if you reserve with half board in advance
  • On the Catalan coast there are promotions for 5 star hotels at the price of 4 star hotels. Other offers include children free or a 50% discount for the second child.