BENIDORM’S hotels ended what turned out to be a bit of a bumpy year thanks to extreme weather events and other hits to the tourism sector with average occupation levels at 84.2 per cent, just four points down on 2018, sector association HOSBEC reported.
December closed with occupation levels averaging 68.9 per cent, 2.8 points less than in the same month last year.
There were 11.7 million overnight stays in all in 2019, 0.22 per cent less than in the previous year.
HOSBEC President Toni Mayor reflected that the figures should be looked at in the context of various knocks over the last 12 months, starting with what he described as “the worst Easter Week in memory”, in reference to mid-April’s downpours and the resulting cancellations to bookings.
He talked too about the Boeing crisis and the flight ban on the 737Max, which he said prompted airlines and tour operators to restructure routes and flight seat capacity.
September’s extreme weather also “disrupted occupation in the second most important month and besides caused structural damage to some establishments”, Mayor explained, only to be followed by the collapse of Thomas Cook, the financial impact of which added up to about €3.5 million for Benidorm and the loss of one of the most important European tour companies.
Yet another negative for Benidorm’s hotels in Mayor’s opinion was less clients and overnight stays stemming from the government’s IMSERSO Institute for the elderly and social services tourism programme over the latter part of the year.
Despite all this, the HOSBEC President said he believed the town’s hotels had shown
strength and resilience in the face of unforeseen circumstances.
He maintained the area had not been unduly affected by a drop in demand from the German market in the same way as the Canary Islands and the Balearics. He also pointed out that the results for 2019 had been similar to those for the last three years and better than the 2003 to 2015 average.
Spaniards accounted for the biggest Benidorm hotel market last year, representing 45.3 per cent of the total and registering 5.3 million overnight stays.
The British are the second most important market, with a quota of 41.3 per cent. Total overnight stays by UK visitors dropped 2.8 per cent in 2019 to 4.8 million, HOSBEC citing Brexit as a contributing factor to the decrease.
The HOSBEC analysis put particular emphasis on the need to study what has happened to Benidorm’s Belgian and Dutch visitor markets. While they remain the third and fourth most important, there were important falls of 9.7 and 7.6 per cent respectively.
By contrast, the Portuguese market grew by 28 per cent on 2018 and the Irish market by 14 per cent.