Barcelona (ACN).- Hotels along the coast of Catalonia reached nearly reached full capacity during August. The hotels on the Central Catalan coast, where the Maresme and Garraf Counties are located and Sitges, Calella, Malgrat de Mar and Vilanova-i-la-Geltrú are situated, reached a 95% occupation rate on average and many hotels were completely full. Those on the Costa Brava (the northern Catalan coast) achieved a 90% occupation rate, similar to previous years. However, in the Alt Empordà County, affected by forest fires in July, occupation rate reached 80%. Hotels on the Costa Daurada (the southern Catalan coast), the average occupation rate reached 95%, repeating last year’s results. Hotel-owners celebrate some changes in tourism trends, such as the increase of Russian tourism. However, they are unhappy with the rise of last-minute bookings and the drop of average spending per visitor.
Without taking into account the city of Barcelona, which has a huge number of visitors throughout the year, the Central Catalan coast nearly reached full capacity in August. Hotels on the Maresme County (north of Barcelona, with towns such as Malgrat de Mar, Calella, Pineda de Mar and Sant Pol de Mar) and the Garraf County (with Sitges, Vilanova-i-la-Geltrú and Cubelles) had a 95% occupation rate on average and many had no rooms to spare. However, despite these positive numbers, hotel-owners recognise that the spending per visitor has decreased, in relation to previous years. One of the greatest changes is the arrival of many Russian tourists, particularly to Maresme, which has obliged business owners to adapt to these new customers and hire staff able to speak Russian.
The Costa Brava (with towns such as Blanes, Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Platja d’Aro, Palamós, Begur, L’Estartit, Empuria Brava and Roses) continues to have August as its “star” month, when it has the greatest number of visitors. Hotels registered a 90% occupation rate on average, although in the Alt Empordà (the Costa Brava’s northern part), the occupation rate was 80% due to the effect of forest fires in July, which made many people cancel their bookings and reconsider their holiday destination, even though tourist areas were not affected. This year, visitors have reduced the length of their holidays and their spending, due to the crisis. Many bookings were last-minute. Another change is again the increase of Russian tourism, especially in the central and southern parts of the Costa Brava. However, business-owners are worried about the current economic situation and await “complications” in the next year due to the VAT increase approved by the Spanish Government, passing from 8% to 10%.
The hotels on the Costa Daurada (with towns such as Salou, Cambrils, L’Hopistalet de l’Infant, L’Ametlla de Mar, Altafulla, L’Ampolla) have registered occupation rates similar to last year. They had a 90% occupation rate in July and 95% in August. After a doubtful start of the tourist season due to the crisis, business-owners are generally satisfied with the final results. As was expected, foreign tourism compensated for the drop in tourism from Catalonia and the rest of Spain. However, camping sites, which are often visited by local tourists, suffered a 10% drop in relation to the previous year, with occupation rates of 80%. Furthermore, rural cottages and hotels in the Ebro Delta, which are little known by foreign tourists, had a bad summer season with a 60% occupation rate. The owners of hotels, camping sites and cottages are disappointed by the visitors’ reduction of their holidays and spending, as well as an increase in last minute bookings, which makes business more uncertain.