17 Apr, 2024 @ 12:04
1 min read

Airbnbs are growing ‘out of control’ in Spain, experts warn: More than 60,000 tourist flats created so far this year – while locals struggle to pay rent

EXPERTS have warned Spain’s Airbnb market is growing ‘out of control’ while locals struggle to get by. 

Tourism business alliance, Exceltur, has pointed to the 60,000 accommodations that have sprung up in Spain’s 25 main cities so far this year. 

It represents a 25% surge in comparison to this time last year, bringing the total to 286,858. 

According to their AirDNA report, Malaga is amongst the most affected, with 32,468 tourist flats, 29.9% more compared to 2023. 

READ MORE: Airbnb crackdown in Spain: Government wants to limit holiday flats in ‘saturated’ areas because they are ‘harming access to housing’ – following a wave of anti-tourism protests

Tourism has become a key issue for many communities in Andalucia and beyond. Photo: The Olive Press

Exceltur Vicepresident, Jose Luis Zoreda, has denounced the issue, saying: “It is the main reason why people are rejecting tourism, it impacts their access to housing, causes disturbances for neighbours, crowding and makes emblematic neighbourhoods boring.”

He also claimed the high concentration of tourist apartments are affecting cities which ‘have not regulated this phenomenon and do not have the proper inspection and control methods to deal with it.’

Madrid is seeing the biggest growth of tourist accommodation, with 59,111 offerings growing at 29.8% each year. 

Long at the centre of the anti-tourism debate, Barcelona comes in close second, with 41,681 tourist apartments, having grown 11.8% in the last year. 

READ MORE: What’s behind the anti-tourism graffiti in Spain? Locals in Tenerife give their verdict as they insist ‘it’s nothing personal against tourists’

It is followed by two Andalucian cities, Malaga in third and Sevilla in fourth. 

The city, popular for its flamenco, has 20,755 Airbnbs, representing a 21.1% growth compared to last year. 

Finally, in fifth position was Valencia, with a shocking 40.4% increase, or 27,975 Airbnbs. 

Zoreda praised the government’s decision to limit tourist flats in high pressure areas. 

“We have been pushing for this for over seven years and until it became a political issue it was ignored.” 

He hopes that the government and autonomous communities will ‘work together’ to eradicate what he calls a ‘national problem’. 

Businesses are calling for nationwide laws to regulate the ‘out of control’ Airbnb market. 

‘More demanding corrective and punitive measures are needed’, claimed Zorea, who called them ‘more essential every single day’. 

Only in some cities where local authorities have given tourism ‘political priority’ have seen a ‘reasonable’ growth, according to Exceltur. 

They highlighted Palma de Mallorca (-6,1%), Ibiza (-17%), Barcelona (+11,8%) and San Sebastián (+10,9%). 

READ MORE: Malaga tourism boss says a tourist tax risks ‘destroying the goose that lays the golden eggs’

Yzabelle Bostyn

After spending much of her childhood in Andalucia and adulthood between Barcelona and Latin America, Yzabelle has settled in the Costa del Sol to put her NCTJ & Journalism Masters to good use. She is particularly interested in travel, vegan food and has been leading the Olive Press Nolotil campaign. Have a story? email [email protected]

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