Spain fully booked for summer despite most expensive holiday prices ever

The Local Spain
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Spain fully booked for summer despite most expensive holiday prices ever
Sunbathers enjoy the beach at Torrevieja near Valencia. (Photo by Jose Jordan / AFP)

Spain has kicked off the summer season at near full capacity despite rising prices making it what the Spanish press has dubbed 'the most expensive holidays of our lives'.


But despite the price pinch, many Spaniards still seem set on going away this summer anyway, albeit with slightly different holiday plans.

In fact, research by the EMEA Summer Travel report shows that demand has increased by 35 percent in Spain compared to the summer of 2019.

The report, put together by Google and Rocket Digital, reveals that internet searches have reached historic highs in Spain, ranking as the second most in demand country in the world, behind only the United States.

Yet this rise in demand comes amid some rather eye watering price rises.

According to the report, tourist prices have risen considerably since the pandemic, with air fares around 10 percent more expensive overall than in 2019, accommodation costs going up by as much as 20 percent, and rental cars by a whopping 50 percent.

Figures from Spain's National Institute of Statistics (INE) shows that both national and international tourist packages are almost 20 percent more expensive than a year ago, while campsite and hostel prices have increased by 5.7 percent.


Even so, 85 percent of Spaniards plan to travel this summer and 40 percent have already booked their holiday, according to the Habits and Behaviours Report by the National Tourism.

In June, hotels had already sold 52 percent of their available rooms for summer, 2 percent higher than in 2022 and 17 percent than in 2019 for the same dates, which means that occupancy will exceed 80 percent in July and August.


But the price rises, which are not only tourism related but linked to the ongoing inflationary cost of living crisis, do seem to be changing the plans of many Spaniards. The main consequence is that more will forego foreign trips and stay at home the summer. 

Around two-thirds of Spaniards who plan to travel this summer will opt for domestic destinations, with the Mediterranean coast and Andalusia region among the favourites, followed by the Cantabrian coast. The cost of flights, too, has altered travel plans: 57 percent of holidaymakers will travel in the car this year, compared to 40 percent by plane.

Spending habits will also be modified, with many Spaniards forced to tighten their belts once on holiday because lingering inflationary pressure on materials and foodstuffs will be passed onto the consumer by bars and restaurants. 

Yet despite it all, leaders in the Spanish tourism sector are feeling positive about the coming summer season. "We have a very positive outlook," the president of the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodations (Cehat), Jorge Marichal, said in the Spanish press.

Cehat also highlighted the stability of the Spanish tourism sector, given that cancellations are at levels similar to those of 2022, despite a general election scheduled for July 23rd: "cancellations have not increased much," the Cehat head says, because "many hoteliers continue to give a lot of flexibility to their customers."


READ ALSO: Why are flights to and from Spain so expensive this summer?

According to INE data, in July and August of last year 17.9 million international tourists visited Spain, below the level of 20 million in 2019.

The government predicts that throughout the summer season Spain will receive around 54.8 million tourists, 15.6 percent more than in 2022 and 3 percent more than pre-pandemic levels in 2019. In terms of spending, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism expects these travellers to spend approximately €67.6 billion during their stays in Spain.

Overall, the Spanish tourism sector is expected to post record revenue in 2023 for the second consecutive year.


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