The Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation (Cehat) unveiled its summer outlook report for 2023, revealing that 52% of bookings for the summer season were already in the portfolio as of June 12th. This represents a 2-percentage-point increase compared to 2022, indicating a positive trend of growth and resilience despite the current inflationary scenario.
Jorge Marichal, the president of Cehat, expressed optimism about the industry’s prospects, citing a positive index derived from the ‘Smart Observatory’ report conducted by PwC. This index considers macroeconomic factors and analyzes five key indicators: macroeconomic context, tourist flows, tourist sentiment, travel intentions, and future demand. The index currently stands 0.17 points higher than the record in the historically successful year of 2019, showcasing Spain’s recovery and the positive evolution of the hotel industry.
The report highlights improvements in growth forecasts for European countries, particularly Spain, as well as stabilization in the foreign exchange market and a positive employment outlook. However, it acknowledges that rising interest rates, mortgage costs, and other monetary policy factors may pose challenges for domestic spending.
The report emphasizes the stability of the booking portfolio, with cancellations at similar levels to 2022. This stability, coupled with the growth of the direct channel and the sector’s recovery, contributes to higher portfolio revenues compared to previous years.
Another positive macroeconomic factor identified in the report is the recovery of the pound against the euro, which stimulates British tourism in Europe by increasing their purchasing power.
HOTELIERS: RECOVERY OF PRE-PANDEMIC OCCUPANCY
Regarding occupancy, the study indicates that Spain has regained pre-pandemic levels in its main tourist destinations. The portfolio forecasts continue to show an upward trend with over 18% higher revenue per total rooms (RevPAR) compared to 2022, and an occupancy increase of more than 7% compared to the previous year. RevPAR data for Spain in the first five months of the year also demonstrate a positive trend, with a 30% increase in April (during Easter) and a 25% increase in May compared to 2019.
Tourism in Spain is experiencing growth, driven by a 17% increase in international market arrivals and a 10% increase in domestic tourism this year. However, the German and British markets show slightly lower traffic levels compared to 2019 (90% and 92% respectively), largely due to connectivity issues with Spain.
The report also addresses the perception of Spain among tourists, measuring their net sentiment. Overall sentiment has declined in recent years, with a rating of 1.2 on a scale ranging from -5 (most negative) to 5 (most positive). Spanish and French tourists show improved sentiment, while German, British, and Italian tourists appear less satisfied. The concept of price prominently features in international mentions of Spain, particularly among the British (16%), French (31%), and German (24%) tourists.
The report attributes price adjustments to the rise in operational costs such as energy, food, and beverages. Inflation has increased by 14.3% since the summer of 2019, while the average daily price of occupied rooms (ADR) has risen by 9.73% during the same period, as per data from the National Statistics Institute (INE).
Travel intentions have shown growth across most countries observed since 2019, supported by an improved economic situation and the reopening of international tourism. The US market stands out with a 20% increase in its intention to travel to Spain, indicating a recovery in long-haul tourism. The British and Scandinavian markets remain stable, while the German and Dutch markets have declined by 6 points.
Jorge Marichal reassured that the upcoming elections on July 23rd do not significantly impact booking cancellations this summer, thanks to the flexible policies adopted by the sector. Many hoteliers offer increased flexibility to their clients, ensuring that people are no longer afraid to make reservations.