Madrid set to become backpackers’ capital

The Madrid region in Spain, is planning to attract backpackers distrustful of other not-so-well-known Spanish regions.

Putting this strategy into action, local authorities have announced new framework regulations for the accomodation industry, which will allow entrepreneurs to open 20 new hostels in the city over the next three years.

001mad-madrid-alcala-esquina-a-gran-via-2800029aThe regional government considers that the city lacks accomodation for young backpackers, and as a result to that is considering granting tax breaks and funding to investors planning to open such lodgings.

This set of measures comes at a time when the local accomodation industry is fuming in light of low occupancy rates. Both business hotels and budget establishments have recorded lower outputs compared to last year’s first two quarters, according to the latest report by the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation, Cehat.

Half a million extra visitors a year

This new push for accomodation facilities would mean half a million extra visitors arriving every year to the greater Madrid region, according to estimates by the regional government. However, this new plan has raised eyebrows among owners of budget hotels, which this year have been urged to lower prices to weather the storm and keep occupancy rate steady.

‘Two-star hotels are bearing the brunt. Four and five-star hotels have lowered prices to set rates similar to three-star lodgings. In turn, three-star hotels are having to post more affordable prices per night. Small hotels at the end of the chain, can not lower their rates any lower because they have to pay for set costs’, explains Ramon Estalella, general secretary of CEHAT.

New framework

Local authorities are thus tying up the loose ends on a new framework document to monitor the industry, similar to those already existing in Catalunya and La Rioja. As a result, these lodgings will have to provide the familiar bunk bed rooms, but will also be allowed to market single and double rooms.

In turn, private or shared bathrooms will have to be kitted out with toilets, washbasins and showers. Also, hostels will be asked to provide phone booths and Internet access, as well as washing machines and tourist information to prospective guests.