Hotel overnight stays in Spain reached 28 million in April, marking an 11.5 percent increase compared to the same month last year, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE). The first four months of the year saw a cumulative increase of 21 percent, totaling 80.9 million overnight stays. These figures surpass pre-pandemic levels, reflecting the industry's remarkable recovery.
In terms of pricing, April witnessed a slight relief with a 9.3 percent increase, the smallest since December. However, prices have been steadily rising for almost two years, starting from June 2021, uninterrupted.
Although the increase in overnight stays in April was the lowest since the sector's recovery began in the second half of 2021, it is attributed to a return to normal levels and reduced fluctuations. The year 2022 faced initial setbacks due to the impact of the omicron variant, but regained momentum during Easter Week. Despite economic challenges in the latter half of the year, demand has remained resilient, defying the effects of inflation on purchasing power.
Foreign tourism experienced the highest growth, with a 16 percent increase in April, amounting to 17.3 million overnight stays. National tourism also showed resilience with a 5 percent increase, reaching 10.7 million overnight stays. The top destinations for foreign visitors in April were the Canary Islands, Catalonia, and the Balearic Islands, while Andalusia, Catalonia, and the Valencian Community were popular among Spanish residents.
Hotels continue to recover profitability, with the average daily billing per occupied room reaching 104.9 euros in April - an 8.8 percent increase compared to the same month in 2022 and a significant 26 percent rise above pre-pandemic prices. In April, nearly 60 percent of available accommodations were occupied, reflecting a 7.4 percent increase. The average length of stay decreased slightly by 1.6 percent compared to April last year, reaching 2.9 overnight stays per traveller, matching figures from four years ago.
The tourism industry sets its sights on surpassing the record number of tourist arrivals from 2019, prior to the pandemic-induced crisis. The year has begun on a positive note in terms of income, as indicated by Exceltur, an association of major companies in the sector. In the first quarter, activity levels were 10.8 percent higher than four years ago, driven by price increases. Companies in the sector note that these price adjustments contribute to improved profitability; however, they have also resulted in increased costs. Additionally, the industry has witnessed an enhancement in the quality of offerings, further contributing to the rise in prices.
According to the DBK Sector Observatory of Informa, the hotel sector's turnover is projected to reach around 18 billion euros by the end of 2023, a 14 percent increase compared to 2022 and 4 percent higher than the figures recorded in 2019.
In 2022, the lifting of restrictions and the revival of tourism led to a recovery in the hotel supply, with turnover increasing by 97.5 percent to 15.8 billion euros, still 8 percent below the 17.25 billion euros recorded in 2019.
Despite some acquisitions, the Spanish hotel sector remains highly fragmented, with the top five operators holding a 23 percent market share. This share rises to 36 percent when considering the top ten, according to data from the previous year's report by the DBK Sector Observatory of Informa.