Spanish tourist industry Summer 2009

Recession in EU crisis increases dependency on domestic tourism in Spain

The Costa Blanca is more dependent on Spanish tourism than ever before and according to statistics published by the Spanish National Institute for Statistics (INE) 7 out of 10 tourists who stayed in hotels this year in the Costa Blanca were Spanish. Just ten years ago this would have been unthinkable given that in the past foreign tourists were the largest group who visited the Costa Blanca.

Nevertheless it appears that while foreigners decided to stay at home Spanish tourists also cut back on holidays abroad. In August hotels along the Costa Blanca received 430,559 tourists, out of which 305,276 were from Spain and 125,283 were foreigners. Benidorm, one of the most popular destinations for foreigners in the Costa Blanca also noted the recession and out of the 208,534 tourists staying in its hotels only 63,036 were foreigners, most of them British.

During August 31% of the total of tourists staying in hotels along the Costa Blanca were from Madrid followed by tourists from the Comunidad Valenciana (26%); Castilla-La Mancha (10%); Andalucía (6.

8%); Cataluña (5.8%); Castilla-León (4.7%); Murcia (3.7%); País Vasco (3%); Aragón (1.5%) and Asturia (1.2%).

This move away from foreign tourism to national tourism is slightly worrying for hoteliers along the Costa Blanca because they need foreign tourists to keep the sector afloat during low season when the majority of their income is from either the retired or foreign tourists.

Business groups representing the hotel sector such as Imerso or Hosbec have rejected the government’s plans to increase VAT costs for the sector reminding it that this sector accounts for 12% of the total of Spain’s GDP and is essential to Spain’s economy.

A spokesperson for Hospec also said that that any increase in VAT imposed on the hotel sector would affect hoteliers more than its clients because in times of crisis it would be impossible to pass on any additional costs to its clients.

The clearest example of this is the seasonal programme for holidays for the retired in Spain – hoteliers have asked who will pay for the increase in VAT from January onwards.