The same group of friends who booked a rural house one weekend In the Sierra de Madrid he has wanted to do the same this year but they have encountered limitations. Almost every busy weekend and much higher prices than the previous year. Since the de-escalation measures began, the Sierra de Madrid has become the perfect place for those who live in the capital and want to leave a few days after more than two months in confinement for the coronavirus. Traveling beyond the Community is still prohibited, until the alarm state is over. However, the plan of many Madrid residents in recent weeks is shaping up to be the alternative for most Spaniards these summer months.
Saika Rural, located in the town of Manjirón, in the Sierra Norte, has noticed a increase in reserves since it passed to phase 1. “It is an atypical and punctual increase caused by the impossibility of leaving Madrid and the need to escape from the confinement,” said Juan L. Avezuela, host of Saika Rural. Compared to the previous year, Avezuela indicated that they have noticed a higher number of reservations in recent weeks, although they expect them to decrease although Madrid enters phase 3 and people can travel across the country.
“The increase in demand is widespread in the Sierra Norte, normally the month of June is a transition month with very little demand, limiting bookings at the weekend, however this year occupancy is also on weekdays and longer stays , in many cases full weeks. “
The rise of rural tourism
According to a survey by the Spanish Federation of Associations of Housing and Tourist Apartments (Fevitur), the 45% of Spaniards prefer to spend their holidays in a tourist apartment versus the idea of staying in a hotel. Another survey, that of Escaparural.com assured that 71% of the respondents are clear that they will travel within the country in summer and that 70% of them will choose rural tourism.
The change in habits is due to the fact that in the hotel complexes there will be certain restrictions for customers in the free buffet and common areas such as swimming pools. In an apartment or house, on the other hand, accommodation is exclusively for families or groups of friends who want to spend their holidays together.
“Until there is a recovery of health confidence, tourists are looking undercrowded destinations, individual accommodation, and there is more planning, “he explained. Tolo Gomila, president of Fevitur.
Bad times for tourist apartments
Some rural house owners have taken advantage of the pull to raise prices, although Avezuela stated that this has not been the case for Saika Rural. The host considers it a mistake because many clients are new to rural tourism and can cause a rejection effect. However, this increase is expected especially in tourist apartments of platforms such as Airbnb when the circulation of people is allowed again – to compensate for the months of hiatus – and not so much in vacation homes.
The increase in the prices of rural houses has been considered somewhat circumstantial
In recent months, most apartment owners located, for example, in city centers, have not received any reservations for quarantine. For many it is their source of incomeAlthough this sector has also been one of the ones that has increased prices the most in recent years. The increase has been registered above all on Airbnb, which has led to the creation of regulations to regulate these apartments in tourist cities such as Barcelona.
In response to the crisis, the company announced that it will allocate 250 million euros to assist hosts affected by the cancellation of reservations and to pay landlords 25% of what would have been due for reservations canceled between March 14 and May 31.
Rural houses, high demand and falling prices
These grants will also go to the owners of vacation homes, although this category has begun to receive, as we mentioned earlier, a great reservation flow when the de-escalation started. After more than two months of confinement, these destinations are one of the best options to disconnect a weekend. Therefore, the price increase in these cases has been considered for now as something circumstantial and nothing indicates that time is perpetuated. Rather the complete opposite.
At a general level, the trend is downward and they have even been seen reductions of 15%, said to Hypertextual Tolo Gomila, President of the Spanish Federation of Associations of Housing and Tourist Apartments (Fevitur).
In addition, the owners of housing for tourist use are being “extremely empathetic especially in terms of cancellation policies are concerned. They are trying to be as friendly as possible to seduce the little tourist we may have this year in Spain.”
Go for the ‘Spain emptied’
The fact that many people look for overcrowded destinations can also be a breath of fresh air for the interior tourism. Despite the fact that coastal destinations have always been the favorite option for the summer, remote villages can be the plan B for many families.
“The ’emptied Spain’ has been talked about so many times and now thanks to tourism you can have a window of opportunity because it will be a destination that many tourists choose.”
In this context, the owners of rural houses in these destinations see it as an opportunity, but it is also matter of concern. The Escapadarural.com survey found that the 44% are restless by the movement of travelers that can generate infections in places where the coronavirus has arrived. Miryam Tejada, communication executive for the website, said in a statement that the find a balance so that rural tourism “is a successful alternative, but whose tourist flows can be absorbed in a sustainable way by those more fragile environments”.
The pandemic can reinforce rural tourism if you know how to take advantage of the situation. Juan L. Avezuela, from Saika Rural, stressed that many rural places have improved your internet access, so many people can telecommute on these sites. “I think the uncertainty situation will lead to shorter trips to tourism in the short and medium term and this is an advantage for rural proximity tourism,” he said.
Despite this, tourism is in the midst of a black season caused by the crisis. According to Tolo Gomila, the fact that there is no Specific ERTE for the tourism sector and that loans have been provided to a very limited part of the business sector would further complicate the situation. “I think the worst is yet to come, from the months of October I think it will be devastating,” he predicted.