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Barcelona: the city of wonders disregards lodging

A major destination for metropolitan tourism in Europe, with 9 UNESCO World Heritage buildings and major centres of activity, Barcelona is attractive for both business and recreational tourism.

Capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is after Madrid the other great economic pole of the country. In 2017, the airport welcomed more than 46 million passengers (8.6% more than in 2016). In addition to the major sectors of activity such as finance, international trade, the media and the arts, the city is also one of the main ports in the Mediterranean for both merchant traffic and cruise activity.

The rise of leisure tourism has led to the rise of collaborative accommodation (AirBnB, HomeAway...), and nuisances for local residents. Since 2015, the municipality has therefore been trying to curb the influx of tourists, in particular by freezing the granting of new hotel licences. A new measure was put in place in 2017 with a new urban plan aimed at prohibiting the construction of new hotels in the city centre, and tightening sanctions against AirBnB landlords.

The chain supply nevertheless increased by 1.3% over the year, totalling 293 units for 34,932 chain hotel rooms on January 1, 2018.

The market leaders are the local groups Catalonia and NH Hotels, with 2,778 and 2,884 rooms respectively. NH Hotels Group is very present in Spain, and ranks 3rd among the groups operating the most rooms nationwide.

Although Barcelona's performance has risen less sharply than those in the country's other conurbations, it is still clearly improving: RevPAR in all categories is up 7.8%, more than the European average. It is mainly the average daily rates that drives performance up, with the occupancy rate increasing by only 0.3 points on average.

Detailed analysis of Spanish performance and supply can be found in the European Hospitality Report Spain 2018.

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