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Barcelona has highest holiday let growth in Europe

New hotel in Barcelona with roof terrace views of Gaudi’s La Pedrera

Barcelona and Berlin are the European cities with the highest growth in homes being used for tourist accommodation, according to research by the Ostelea school of tourism, which also found the growth of hotel rooms in Barcelona has topped 50,000 in the last 26 years.

Barcelona, Berlin, and Venice are the European cities most saturated by tourism says the Ostelea report, which also reveals that many locals are unhappy with such high levels of tourism and its inflationary impact on house prices, which drives them out of the city centre in search of affordable accommodation.

The latest statistics show that almost 18 million tourists stayed in Catalonia in 2016. The Catalan capital Barcelona has been under pressure from tourism for over a decade, and local hostility towards the industry is growing fast.

Along with the rise in the number of visitors to Barcelona, there’s the continual increase in hotels. Over the last three decades, the number of hotels in Barcelona has gone from 118 in 1990 to 408 last year. The number of hotel beds has also jumped – between 1990 and 2017, they went up from 18,569 to 67,640.

The impact of tourism on the cost of housing is what bothers locals the most, says the Ostelea report. The arrival of global house sharing platforms like Airbnb has made the situation much worse. Tourists compete with locals for accommodation, but tourists staying for just a few days can afford to pay far more per bed per night than locals can for long term rentals, which tends to push up the cost of both buying and renting a  home in Barcelona, goes the argument.

Barcelona currently has 17,369 holiday lets advertised online, with an average price of €84 a night, implying an average monthly rental income of between 2,000 and €2,500, which is much higher than average long-term rental incomes. Houses and apartments make up 8,762 of the total with private rooms making up the rest. There are also 202 shared rooms on offer.

All this has led to locals pointing to tourism as their biggest problem in the city in the latest bi-annual survey published in Barcelona.

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