Tourism in transformation

Tourism in transformation

A research report by CaixaBank on the impact of climate change on the Spanish tourism market has just confirmed the conclusions reached a few weeks ago by another similar study prepared by the Bank of Spain. The increase in average temperatures (in Spain, and even more so in other countries in the southern Mediterranean and the Near East with which we compete directly) has so far had a fundamentally positive effect. This does not mean that if temperatures continue to exceed permissible limits, they will not eventually cause very serious damage to the prospects of the Mediterranean communities and the Canary Islands, or white tourism. We are on this path, as data reminds us that the planet has accumulated 12 consecutive months of record temperatures.

But the effect recorded at the moment has been a certain slump in beach tourism in the central summer months, a boom in Cantabrian edge destinations, and a dispersion of visitor arrivals throughout the year. A phenomenon not only due to climate-related conditions: the purchasing power of the retired population, the increase in the number of adults without children who schedule vacations in the school calendar, and even telework, are converging to achieve this in ways somewhat unexpected until recently. One of the goals Which the Spanish tourism sector has always put in place to ensure its continuity in the future: eliminating seasonality, ending the exclusive dependence on the sun and beach model.

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Much of the increase in tourist flow that has caused 2023, and as expected in 2024, to overcome all pre-pandemic numbers, is due to increases in the autumn, spring or winter months. This amendment to the sector’s guidelines comes at a time when the peak in the number of visitors has caused assumptions about the need to set limits to begin to be assumed by authorities who have no phobia of tourism: from the sector lobby, Exceltur, even local political bodies. A few days ago, the Mayor of Palma (PP) initiated measures against such a phenomenon as the displacement of residential rental offers by tourist rental apartments, and only yesterday the advisor responsible for tourism in Barcelona presented a set of measures to the spaces called great wealth and a reminder that tourism creates wealth, but, From a certain degree of saturation, in addition to punishing the local (as evident in the increasing displays of social rejection), they also do not offer a satisfactory experience for the visitor.

Cancellation of the season and geographic redistribution will be two trends that will help continue to reconcile this need to contain surplus in certain places and times while maintaining tourism as a wealth generator. And a job offer that is often unqualified but will not find a way out in any of the economic sectors that should offer value-added alternatives. Although it may not be enough to address phenomena such as the impact on the residential market and commercial supply in urban centres, which consensus is beginning to grow as a problem that needs to be addressed; But not, not in the long term, about possible solutions.

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