Hotel sector Spain predicts better Semana Santa demand than before pandemic

by Lorraine Williamson
hotel demand

The predictions during Semana Santa 2023 are very favourable. According to Spain’s larger hotel chains, occupancy figures will exceed pre-pandemic levels. However, Spanish travel agencies still fear what the higher hotel prices will do to demand. 

Although we are still waiting for the last-minute bookings, which often should not be underestimated, the tourism sector is heading towards a sunny Semana Santa. This does not only mean the weather, but also the forecasts when it comes to the number of bookings and the income that goes with it.

Current predictions exceed pre-pandemic numbers 

In fact, current predictions show that the upcoming Semana Santa will surpass 2019 numbers. According to the hotel industry, this is the prelude to a summer that will see even higher demand than the summer before the pandemic brought the world to a standstill. 

According to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), hotel prices have been rising continuously for 21 months. The larger hotel chains in Spain recognise this increase and with it the favourable predictions for the upcoming holy week. For example, the Mélia hotel chain expects a 22% increase in turnover during Semana Santa compared to the same week in 2019. The RIU and Barceló chains also report that current bookings are at least 10% higher than a year ago. 

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Spain is the most booked from these countries 

The number of bookings from countries such as the UK, Germany, the United States, but also from the Spaniards themselves is striking. One of the reasons for this is the improved connections in the form of direct flights to Mallorca and Málaga. Furthermore, the outlook for hotels in cities is favourable. People come for a longer period and especially Seville, Barcelona, Valencia and Palma will soon receive more foreign tourists than last year. 

Hotels in the Canary Islands, the entire coastline of Spain and the Balearic Islands have an occupancy of at least 65% during this period and many hotels are opening their doors earlier than usual to take advantage of this week. Last weekend it was announced that several hotels in Mallorca are already fully booked. 

Spanish travel agencies fear about the consequences of increased prices 

The travel agencies affiliated with CEAV are also seeing a significant increase in bookings. However, they are also concerned about how the higher prices per night and increased car rental prices might affect bookings. The reaction of one of the hotel chains is that they do not have to offer reduced rates due to the increased demand. RIU says that the price increase compensates for the higher costs that hotels have been facing for several months. However, travel agencies still fear the consequences of these higher rates and their impact on demand. 


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