Barcelona has double the hotel rooms that it had in the year 2000, just over 9 years ago. They have been increasingly steady year after year, at a rate of 10%. This spectacular increase along with its high quality and the renovation of the oldest hotels has made hotel offer in Barcelona the best in Europe.
The first great opening came with the Olympic Games in 1992 and it produced those great hotels that are modern still today and in very good shape like Arts, Fira Palace, Barcelona Plaza, Barceló Sants, Claris or Rey Juan Carlos I. These hotels were representative of those times and they are still an important reference point for the sector and the city.
After the crisis of 93-94 the number of visitors started to increase steadily from 1995 and more projects started from 2000. Since then there’s been a continuous increase that has resulted in having a hotel in each corner of the centre (Eixample and Ciutat Vella) but also in new areas like the seafront, 22@, the area of Forum, Diagonal Mar, or in the area of Fira in Hospitalet or around the airport.
However this increase in the number of new hotels would not have been possible without the increase of visitors’ numbers that has also doubled since 2000.
Also now there are more tourists holidaying in the area, attracted by the tourist success of the area. The airport has also felt the increase of numbers and the harbour has become number one for cruises outside the Caribbean (see news in Hosteltur).
Corporate bookings have also increased at the same rate and they are still 50% of the total. The most illustrative example are the congresses and conventions: The city only had one convention palace up to the year 2000. That same year a new palace was inagurated the Palau de Congressos de Catalunya and in November 2004 the CCIB opened in the Fòrum. It is one of the biggest in Europe and it has had great occupation up to now.
Nowadays tourism represents 12% of the income of Barcelona, which means an incredible transformation for a city with such an industrial past.
The new hotels
The new hotels are especially in the upper side of the scale. 4 and 5 star hotels have moved from being only a third of the total to a 50% in 2009. And 5 star hotels particularly have massively increased, from 5 to the current 22.
Barcelona’s Hotels (II): Maturity of design and interesting names.
Barcelona’s Hotels (III): 60 new hotels with an outstanding design
Barcelona’s Hotels (IV): 60 pictures by Flickr travellers
Barcelona’s Hotels (IV): Proyectos
(I would like to thank Albert Bramona, general secretary of the Gremi d’Hotels de Barcelona, for his time and for helping me to develop this post series)