Private accommodation is becoming increasingly popular. | A. MARTINEZ

Around 14% of all tourists who came to Spain last year stayed in private properties for tourist use and they were responsible for a spend of 2,680 million euros, 900 million of which was spent on the accommodation itself with the rest devoted to travel expenses of differing kinds.
These are conclusions from a report presented by the Esade business school in collaboration with market researchers Salvetti & Llombart and the Spanish federation of associations for tourist houses and apartments (Fevitur), and they come from a survey of 775 customers and 445 property owners in six holiday areas of Spain: Barcelona, Madrid, San Sebastian, Granada, Calpe (Alicante) and Majorca.
According to the report, the average spend of such tourists was 726 euros of which 477 euros were spent on things other than accommodation: 32% went to local shops; 34% to other types of business; and a further 34% was devoted to activities and to transport.
In presenting this report in Barcelona, one of its co-authors, Mar Vila, stated that a third of those surveyed said that they would not choose a destination that did not have this type of tourist accommodation. It was legitimate to refer to this form of tourism, therefore, as “an additional market”.
And this market is predominantly foreign (79%) with a profile of an average age of 47 with a family (83%), facts which challenge a view that the majority of clients are young people who come to get drunk.
As for owners, they say that their properties are only used for tourist purposes and that the rental helps family finances while also ensuring that there is help for local economies. Only 51% admitted to having a licence for tourist use, although this percentage varied according to location: in Barcelona and Madrid, it was 64%, while in Majorca, with more restrictive regulation, it was only 34%.
Vila argued that administrations should move towards improved regulation, though it should remain limited in order to maintain destinations in the long-term. It is a model of accommodation, however, that is growing and it cannot be pretended that it doesn’t exist.