Spain sees spike in UK ‘energy tourists’ escaping high bills at home, hotel bosses say

MADRID – British “energy tourists” are heading to Spain to soak up the sun amid higher bills at home, according to hotel operators who reported an increase in the number booking stays of three weeks or more.

Like other Mediterranean countries, Spain has tried to lure Britons and holidaymakers from other northern European countries to spend part of the winter in the warmer climes of the Costa, when energy bills rise.

Britons traveling to Spain to escape Britain’s worst winter is not a new phenomenon, but Spanish hotel chains have reported an increase in longer-term bookings than in 2019, suggesting they are linked to the current energy crisis.

RIU Hotels & Resorts, which has a chain of 18 hotels in the Canary Islands, reported a 5% increase in stays of more than three weeks or more.

“People from the UK seem to be taking this opportunity to come to Spain for longer periods. The increase in numbers seems to be due to energy costs at home in the UK,” said an RIU spokesman.

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It’s not hard to see the magic of coming to Spain compared to staying in the UK in November. Temperatures in some parts of Spain reached 33 degrees on Tuesday (Photo: Josep Lago/Getty)

In the Canary Islands, the number of British tourists booking holidays rivals the Germans, who are traditionally the largest group by nationality wintering in the archipelago.

The rush to book a long stay in the Canary Islands is related and Jet2holidays, which increased the number of flights available this winter by 20% compared to 2019.

A seven-night stay in Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands departing on Wednesday was listed at £522 with Jet2. By comparison, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that in the financial year to 2021, households spent a total of £481.5 a week, including on housing, fuel and power, food and drink.

“There is no doubt that more people are booking long holiday packages to destinations such as the Canary Islands, mainland Spain, Portugal and Turkey this winter,” James Payslak, spokesman for and Jet2holidays, said I am.

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“For many, the thought of enjoying a long holiday in the winter sun is clearly more appealing than a long, wet, cold UK winter with the heating on.”

Extended stays have not been limited to the Canary Islands, but many British retirees and digital nomads have headed to the Costa Blanca, Costa Brava and Costa del Sol in southern Spain.

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Noria Montes, secretary general of Husbeck, the Valencia hoteliers’ association, said: “Coming to Spain is not new, but we have seen an increase in the number of Brits, especially retirees and digital nomads, spending more time as it gets more expensive. stay at home.

“This has meant that Benidorm has become the center of tourism in the low season and 90 percent of the visitors are British.”

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Long-term home rentals are up 24%, according to one company, Belvilla by OYO.

It’s not hard to see the magic of coming to Spain compared to staying in the UK in November. Temperatures in some parts of Spain reached 33C on Tuesday as many headed to the beach to enjoy a national holiday to mark All Saints’ Day.

Most people in Spain still don’t put their heating on because summer lasts until autumn, creating a phenomenon known as veroño – a combination of verano (summer) and autono (autumn).

Like many other European countries, hotel, restaurant and food prices have risen in Spain because of the energy crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Spanish inflation stood at 7.3 percent in October, compared to 8.9 percent the previous month.


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