Most businesspeople are glad to say ‘goodbye’ to the year of ‘crisis’ that was 2009! Not least the hospitality industry in Benidorm and the Costa Blanca who have announced that visitor figures for Benidorm have dipped to just 74.5% occupancy; the worst the city has experienced in the last twenty years.
According to La Asociación Empresarial Hostelera de Benidorm y de la Costa Blanca (HOSBEC), Benidorm offers almost 70,000 nights of occupancy during the year through a network of 211 tourist establishments (hotels, apartments and camping) which accounts for around 60 percent of the tourist activity of the Valencian Community. Analysis of the two last decades shows that 1990 was Benidorm’s worst year with 71.1% whereas the psychological barrier of 75 percent has been surpassed with the maximum reached in 1999, when 92 of each one hundred beds on offer were occupied.
Observers would note that Benidorm now has more hotel beds on offer than twenty years ago but these figures still reflect a drop of three percent over 2008. In a year when finances were possibly the most important thing on most holidaymakers’ minds, it may come as no surprise to note that 2-star establishments received a healthy 86.3 percent, whereas those of 4 and 3 stars only reached 50.9 and 57.9, respectively. Visitor numbers consisted of 48.2 percent of Spaniards and 51.8 of foreigners. The British again make up the most important foreign market with 43 percent of the total of tourists lodged, followed by Dutch 4% and Belgians with 3.2, by this order. No mention of the German’s or beach towels!
According to APHA, (Provincial Association of Hotels, APHA) over the festive period, all regions showed an increase over 2008, which bids well for 2010. They said “The superb climate that the province has this month, in contrast to the low temperatures of the rest of the peninsula, has been another important element that it has influenced of remarkable form in the occupation of week ends and bridge days of December.”
The Tourism market remains one of the most important sources of income for the Valencian community, more so now than every with the demise of Property Sales and revenues raised through taxes on house sales and the construction industry. The Costa Blanca is also losing ground on other European ‘Hot Spots’ such as Turkey, which have seen a significant rise in tourism numbers due in part to inexpensive flights, cheaper occupancy rates and prices for food and drink.
Possibly the Turkish are willing to work harder at offering packages that holiday makers want, while the Costa Blanca has remained somewhat stagnant and comfortable without adapting to new areas of competition elsewhere. One way or another, if the Costa Blanca hospitality industry wishes to remain buoyant then maybe this act as a wake-up call and we can look forward to the prosperity that tourism provides for the region in 2010.