Homes designated for tourism surpass hotel rooms

Private homes for tourism outnumber hotels in Almeria. Credit: Creative Commons More: View public domain image source here

Over 10,000 homes designated for tourism are now available in Almeria, providing a total of 49,000 beds, with 41 percent of these located within the province.

This expansion of tourism-related housing is particularly noticeable in coastal areas, surpassing initial estimates set by the Andalusian government. Regulations were introduced by the Ministry of Tourism in mid-2016 to formalise the operation of homes previously operating in the informal holiday rental market. Initially, it was estimated that between 3,000 and 4,000 apartments and flats were operating informally, based on listings on internet portals and through real estate agencies with high demand along the province’s coastline.

A surge in accommodation

This surge in tourist accommodation, driven by communication technologies and vacation rental platforms, has become a dominant feature of the tourism landscape. Over the past eight years, it has transformed from a niche phenomenon to a major player, overtaking traditional accommodation options such as campsites, rural houses, tourist apartments, and hotels. These tourism homes now make up almost 42 percent of the total available beds in the sector, with approximately 50,000 places offered.

The rise of tourist housing has outpaced hotel establishments, with over 13,000 more beds available compared to hotels, hostels, and pensions combined. Municipalities such as Vera, Roquetas, and Mojacar are leading this trend, with Vera boasting over 10,000 beds across 2,233 properties.

Challenges ahead

While this growth presents opportunities for increasing tourism supply and reducing seasonality, it also brings challenges. The Andalusian government has introduced a new decree to regulate this type of accommodation, setting minimum requirements such as a surface area of 14 square meters per guest. Local authorities are also empowered to limit or prohibit such activities through urban planning regulations.

Despite the benefits, concerns about coexistence and sustainability have emerged, prompting some municipalities to consider local ordinances to manage this rapid expansion. While some larger cities are already exploring regulations, others remain vigilant, monitoring the situation closely to ensure a balanced tourism model that benefits both visitors and local communities.

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Written by

Julian Phillips

Born in the UK, has lived in 9 countries, before finally coming to Spain in 2015. Currently living in Almeria and working out of the EWN office in Mojacar.