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All-inclusive packages in Spain... to be discontinued?

While Spain is trying to relieve itself of its mass tourism image, several municipalities in the country are currently reconsidering the all-inclusive package deals and their impact on the tourism economy and industry.

Over the last decade, the all-inclusive vacation package grew significantly in Spain, seducing tourists with its affordability. The model thus represents close to 20% of the total offer in the country versus 6% a decade or so ago (according to Hosteltur). Very present in the islands and along Spain's coasts, all-inclusive packages are drawing the attention of different municipal authorities, who seek greater  control over their tourism activity.

So, the vice-president and minister of Tourism in the Balearics, Biel Barcelo, recently begun to work with the different tourism players in order to regulate All-Inclusive products in the archipelago. He plans to "influence the quality of service and avoid the disappearance of complementary offers," and to improve the image of mass tourism that has been identified with destinations such as a Magaluf or Playa de Palma.

At the beach resort, Benidorm, not far from Alicante, municipal authorities are also studying the matter. Elected officials unanimously approved a proposition from the socialist group for the creation of a "policy and technique" commission whose mission it would be to study the impact of All-Inclusive packages on the city and tourism properties in the capital of Costa Blanca. The city's goal is to prevent any potential prejudices against the city while preserving its economic model.

Finally, the Canary Islands have also entered the global All-inclusive games with properties that are part of the tourism debates. The new president of the Archipelago, Fernando Clavijo, recently announced his intention to slow arrivals at the destination. He estimates that more than the quantity of tourists, what is important is that they spend money in the local economy and that "'there is no point in reaching 20 million tourists if they come with a prepaid package deal."

These considerations are being made at the same time the new mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, announced at the beginning of July a freeze on new hotel licenses in order to rein in the development of mass tourism (read our article). Spanish tourism is one of the sectors driving the economic recovery in the country, whereas the destination is showing levels of arrivals that had never been reached before. On the first six months of the year 2015, 29.2 million foreign tourists visited the country, or 4.2% more than in 2014 (read our article), which was already a record year for the sector.

Also read:

  • Barcelona: what lies in store for tourism after the municipal elections?
  • Barcelona puts a freeze on delivering permits for new hotels

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