The end of the pandemic gradually triggered the so-called traveling rage since 2021 and, despite the blow that inflation and the rise in interest rates have caused to household income, demand is resisting. Overnight stays in hotel establishments grew by 2.5% last July compared to the same month in 2022, to exceed 43.1 million, a figure that practically equals the record for July 2019, according to data published this Wednesday by the Institute National Statistics (INE). But there is a difference compared to four years ago: prices are on average 24% higher.
The rise in costs for companies and the improvement of hotel facilities in search of clients with higher incomes also explain the rise in prices, according to the sector. Thus, the average daily billing of hotels per occupied room in July stood at 128.80 euros, 6.2% more than in the same month of 2022 and 24.8% more than in 2019, the year prior to the pandemic crisis and that is taken as a reference to assess the recovery of tourism. It is the highest figure since 2008, the last year that appears in the INE records.
Another of the sector’s profitability indicators is the average daily revenue per available room (RevPAR), which is conditioned by occupancy. This reached a daily average of 96.5 euros in July, with an increase of 7.5% compared to July 2022 and 25% compared to 2019. It is also the highest in the last 15 years. Estepona is the tourist destination with the highest average daily turnover per occupied room (298 euros) and also per available room (250.4 euros).
The robust recovery of tourism, especially in 2022, suggests that 2023 will close at levels very similar to those of the 2019 record. The good progress of the sector so far has been key to sustaining the growth of Spanish GDP and employment, although there is uncertainty about how interest rate increases, with the consequent increase in mortgage prices, will affect the spending capacity of households.
The drop in disposable income helps explain why the average stay fell slightly in July: it fell by 0.6% compared to July 2022, standing at 3.4 overnight stays per traveller. In July 2019 it was 3.56 days. In July, hotel occupancy was 70.2% of the places offered, with an annual increase of 1.3% and below the 71.13% of 2019.
Everything indicates that the rate increases are moderating. The annual rate of the Hotel Price Index (IPH) stood at 6.2% in July, which is 10.1 points less than that reached in the same month of 2022 and 1.8 points less than in June. The price escalation began in April 2021 and reached its peak in the first half of 2022, in the heat of inflation and energy prices. Since then, the increases have gradually moderated.
Foreign tourists continued to account for two thirds of the overnight stays in hotels in Spain in July, to over 27.7 million. Those of travelers residing in Spain exceeded 15.3 million, 35.6% of the total. Travelers from the United Kingdom and Germany concentrated 25.5% and 16.6%, respectively, of the total overnight stays of non-residents, with seven million the first and 4.5 million followed, figures equal to those of the same month of 2022.
During the first seven months of 2023, overnight stays increased by 10.8% compared to the same period of the previous year. In addition, they exceeded those of the first seven months of 2019.
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