Barcelona hotels report €2.7 billion in Covid-related losses over past 18 months
Sector calls on authorities to greenlight infrastructure projects including airport expansion
Barcelona's Hotels Association, the 'Gremi d'Hotels', has suffered what it describes as an "extraordinary" drop in prices, leading to around €2.7 billion in losses over the past year and a half since the pandemic hit.
At the moment, only 60% of the Catalan capital's hotels are open. Occupancy rates amongst those that have opened are far lower than pre-Covid levels: 30% in June, 55% in July, and 65% in August.
There are now, on average, 13,000 people per night in Barcelona's hotels, far fewer than the 60,000 around the same time in 2019.
According to Jordi Clos, who presides over the association, authorities need to back infrastructure projects such as the Barcelona airport expansion or building the Hermitage Museum on the seafront in order to place the city amongst the world's top 10 destinations.
Environmentalists and other social groups, on the other hand, have long warned of the possible adverse effects of making the airport any larger, both in terms of climate change as well as overreliance on tourism.
Clos blasted Spanish vice president Yolanda Díaz over her recent visit to La Ricarda with Barcelona mayor Ada Colau, who has been skeptical of both the airport expansion plans and the seafront Hermitage.
"The vice president will have this post for another two or three years, but the city's hotel managers have been here for forty years," he said. "This vice president creates jobs, but we currently have 35,000 workers in the city. Is she wise enough to know there will not be tourism in four years' time?"