The Spanish mediterranean coast has one of the highest concentrations of touristic beds in the world. They are mainly linked to the “sun and beach” model, used from the 1950s on as a tool for economic grow in the state’s policies, in which tourism was to play an essential role.
There are areas in which the buildings are recent and/or refurbishment operations have been relevant, but in other areas buildings are quite close to the beach, are over 50 years old and raise issues that in other contexts are often associated to marginal neighborhoods rather than to tourism areas: low constructive quality and need for rehabilitation, poor efficiency in terms of energy and water use, a deficient public space design, a bad physical image of the buildings. Despite that, these spaces are still raising revenue, even if with time markets have become stratified due to their degree of physical conservation or transformation.
At the same time demand has diversified. Many northern Europeans have arrived to settle permanently or for long seasons every year, looking more for warm winters than for beaches or the seashore. This has opened the hinterland to real estate markets, and has also increased a problem that was already relevant: the cost of maintaining year-round services to urban tissues that are occupied just for a few months.
The landscape of this northern coast of the Alicante province is marked by steep hills and high rock cliffs over a complex coastline. The impact of tourism on this landscape is clear.
This week these notes will be about this reality, analyzing six examples in the Alicante province:
The economic relevance of each sector is estimated according to data from the Anuario Económico de España 2012 from La Caixa. The following graph shows the relative weight of each sector, and, for comparative background, the situation in Alicante, the provincial capital (population over 300.000). Benidorm is clearly singular due to the hotel concentration.
The analysis of the night stays in hotels on the Alicante coast (in which these municipalities are included) shows that each year Spanish tourists represent closet o 60% of all hotel nights, the rest corresponding to foreigners. The evolution by month shows that foreigners fluctuate less, while Spaniards concentrate in summer. Although in 2011 the hotels concentrated in the whole of Spain 73,6% of all night stays, these data cannot be directly extrapolated to the whole of tourism activities, as rental apartments and homes and apartments owned by tourists can have different dynamics, there are zonal specificities and there is also an unregistered tourism lodging offer.