21 Sep, 2017
Barcelona: One Of The Best Place To Grow
Barcelona has become a key tourist destination and a series of events and conferences planned for 2017 and 2018 as well as a hotel moratorium are expected to drive further growth in Rev PAR, largely through price increases.
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain and one of the most visited cities in Europe, currently ranked fifth in ICCA’s list of most popular destinations for meetings and events. This success is due to the city’s wealth of contrasts, wide-ranging gastronomic options and an infrastructure ideally suited to this market sector.
In 2016, the Barcelona airport registered more than 44.1 million passengers, an increase of 11.2% compared to 2015. This increase shows that Barcelona’s touristic appeal is still growing. As a result, 2016 was a very strong year for the hotel sector in Barcelona, with RevPAR increasing by 10.7% taking it to €104.7 mainly due to a significant increase in ADR, +8% to €136.7. Occupancy rates grew in 2016 by 1.6% to reach 76.6% for the year.
8 new hotels that were already in pipeline before the moratorium opened this year in Barcelona with a total of 540 new rooms. Hotel real estate investment plummeted for the second year in a row due to the hotel moratorium (lost investment has been estimated at €100 million).
The moratorium imposed a freeze on licensing new tourist accommodation. This has affected the pipeline of new supply. As an example, the moratorium is said to have halted the plan to convert the Agbar Tower, a signature 38-story office tower on the central Avenida Diagonal, into a luxury hotel. In January 2017 the property was sold to Merlin Properties for office-use.
One of the largest hotel transactions for 2016 in the city was the sale of the Pullman Skipper to Shaftesbury for €93 million. However, hotel investment in the city in 2016 has decreased significantly and turned investors' interest towards Madrid.
Many municipalities around the world are wrestling with the growth of the sharing economy — especially taxation and regulatory issues.
In November, Barcelona imposed a €600,000 fine on Airbnb and HomeAway for advertising unlicensed touristic apartments. As of January 2017, Barcelona had c.18K Airbnb accommodation listings (compared to 9.5K in 2015).
In 2017, Barcelona will once again host the GSMA Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest exhibition, conference and networking event for the mobile industry. The 2016 edition attracted more than 101,000 visitors, c.16% more than in 2015.
With its hospitals and its leading medical facilities, Barcelona already receives about 20,000 medical tourists each year. With the initiative «Barcelona Medical Destination», the city wants to continue to promote medical tourism to foreign countries where access to good medical care is more difficult.
In 2017, new air routes will be inaugurated between Barcelona and major Asian cities. For example new direct flights will link Barcelona to Seoul and Hong-Kong. Low-cost and other European airlines are also opening new routes to different European cities.
The Spanish economy grew strongly at 2.6% in 2016 with unemployment falling further to 19.6%, still at high levels but expected to continue to fall. Growth is expected to continue in 2017 and 2018, at 2.3% and 1.9% respectively, rates slower than 2015 and 2016 as some factors that contributed to the boost in consumption, including low energy prices and low inflation, will reverse.
Barcelona has become a key tourist destination and a series of events and conferences planned for 2017 and 2018 as well as a hotel moratorium are expected to drive further growth in RevPAR, largely through price increases.
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