MADRID – Spanish local and regional authorities do not recognise the booming business resulting from the increased popularity of motorhome holidays in Spain.
As for the number of motorhome parking spaces Spain dangles at the bottom of Europe. According to the Spanish Association of Caravan Industry and Trade (Aseicar), Spain needs between 2,000 and 2,500 additional camper pitches to meet the demand from itinerant tourists. 65% of them are foreigners who spend an average of €150 per day.
Motorhome and camper holidays are in fashion
This summer, more than half a million people will choose this type of vehicle to go on holiday in Spain. Of these, almost 350,000 are foreign tourists. They spend an average of 17 days in the country between July and September, according to forecasts.
1,100 camper pitches are insufficient
In total, it is estimated that more than 170,000 vehicles will visit Spain this summer. Each with a daily spending pattern of €150. In an entire year, that number can reach 350,000, Aseicar data shows. Most drivers of these campervans opt for special parking spaces and overnight accommodations specifically aimed at motorhome tourism. They usually offer fewer services than a campsite and are cheaper.
RV Parks in Europe
While there has been a proliferation of motorhome areas in Spain in recent years, many more are needed. Moreover, there were only 180 in 2010 and now there are 1,100. However, Aseicar estimates that between 2,000 and 2,500 RV spaces are needed to serve RV owners travelling through Spain.
For comparison: According to Aseicar there are about 4,500 areas for motorhomes in Germany alone, 6,000 in France, 3,500 in Italy, and 2,000 in the Netherlands. Aseicar receives many complaints from associations and caravan owners and operators every year due to the lack of motorhome pitches and specific regulations in Spain for parking and staying overnight.
“A sector that is misunderstood by some governments”
The boom that the sector is experiencing is having an undeniable impact on the country’s economy. For this reason, regional and local authorities should expand these motorhome pitches to promote tourism. “Caravanning in Spain should be given the same value as in countries like France or Germany,” said Aseicar’s president, José Manuel Jurado. He also believes that the sector is “misunderstood” by some governments.
Good for local economies
According to Aseicar, these RV sites attract new tourists, bring revenue to local businesses, and reduce the seasonal impact on tourism. Many motorhomes drive through Spain during periods other than the high season.
Some autonomous regions understand this better than others. They see the need and opt for itinerant tourism by creating new motorhome pitches. Below Galicia (more than 100), Catalonia (90) or Castilla y León (80).
However, regions such as, where thousands of RVs pass or visit, barely have RV areas, and none near the capital.
A business opportunity
“It is incomprehensible that the new business opportunities that motorhome areas offer are not being recognised,” emphasises Aseicar. The association points out that until a few years ago it was impossible to go to the centre of large cities by motorhome because of a parking ban or because of the lack of sufficient parking spaces for these usually large vehicles.
Now municipalities such as Córdoba, San Sebastián, Logroño, Pamplona, and Alicante have set up specific areas in their centres for parking and overnight stays of up to 48-72 hours. Many of these areas cost between €10 and €20 per day and most have running water, sewage, electricity, and good access to public transport.