While not quite an avalanche, after more than eighteen months suffering the consequences of the pandemic, more and more tourist hotels in the province of Alicante have a “for sale” sign hanging up above their font doors.
The sales are being forced, either due to the need to raise liquidity to keep other establishments open, due to heavy mortgages or, simply, due to the exhaustion of many small owners after almost two years of uncertainty.
And those are only those that have been put up for sale through the Idealista website, which last week published a study on the situation, in which it said there are now 653 hotels or guest houses offered on its portal, 16% more than a year ago.
In the case of Alicante, the increase in supply has been much greater, growing from 13 to 20 hotels for sale – 53% more -, but there are places where the situation is much worse.
At the head of this unfortunate ranking are the Balearic Islands, where there are up to 73 establishments of different categories for sale, followed by Barcelona, with 64 such properties, Malaga (52), Granada (40), Girona (40), Las Palmas (34), Pontevedra (27), Asturias (22) and Valencia (21). Madrid is at the same level as Alicante, which also has 20 hotels for sale on the property platform.
In the province, prices vary considerably, from the 318,000 euros that they ask for a five-room hostel in the centre of Calpe, to the 19.5 million that are being asked by the owners of a four star complex, with 200 bungalows, in the La Marina area of Elche, a resort belonging to a small British chain, which also has establishments on the Costa del Sol.
You can also find a six floor hotel, still under construction, in the Poniente area of Benidorm, that is being offered for 9.5 million, and that belongs to a Norwegian chain which, with the arrival of the covid, decided to liquidate it’s investment.
Also in Benidorm there is a hotel for sale on Avenida de los Almendros, with 74 rooms, for five million euros; and in the cove of Finestrat there is one with ten floors available for those who have a spare 13.5 million. In all of these cases, advertisers omit the name of the establishment and its exact location.
You can also find some hotels that have been closed for years and are in the hands of the banks, such as the old Rocas Blancas hotel in Santa Pola, which has a sale price of just under 4.4 million euros.
However, most of the establishments that have come on to the market are small hotels, mostly run as family businesses, where the owners can no longer afford mortgages or where they simply do not want to continue with a business which struggles to survive.
Meanwhile, 62 hotels in the province of Alicante, 47 of which are in Benidorm, have closed their doors for the season, turning their backs on the Government’s Imserso (Pensionista) program which they are already calling a failure.
Although Imserso holiday breaks can be booked from 14 December, hotels will not start receiving the first tourists until the end of February, according to the Hosbec employers’ association, a delay that reduces the season to just three months, March, April and May (excluding Easter), after already missing October, November, December and January.
The closures will see more than 3,000 workers return to ERTE, to which will be added the torrent of temporary dismissals in the companies that support the sector.