According to the Trade and Territory Office of Valencia’s Chamber of Commerce (PATECO), in the Comunidad Valenciana alone, a record number of holidaymakers – 29.5 million – was seen in 2019, including Spaniards living in other parts of the country.
Collectively, the region’s 29.5 million spent just over €13.4 billion over last year.
Of this, a total of 15.8%, or slightly more than €2.1bn, went on supermarket produce.
The percentage rises to nearly the entire total in the case of tourists who have holiday homes and do not need to spend on accommodation during their stay.
Of the €2.1bn spent in shops, for every €10, a total of €6 is shelled out in supermarkets on daily consumer goods such as food, drink, toiletries and cleaning products.
The remaining €4 in every €10 goes on clothes, shoes, technology, toys, and souvenirs.
Holidaymakers with a second home in the region, and those who rent holiday accommodation such as apartments or villas, are the ones who spend the most of their budgets on everyday groceries – out of the €1.34bn this tourist segment parts with every year, 63.2% is in supermarkets.
The Comunidad Valenciana has some of the highest numbers of privately-owned tourist accommodation in the country – either holiday homes owned by the tourists themselves, or owned by other individuals, couples or families who rent them out for holidays.
These alternatives to hotels, aparthotels and other resort complexes mean package holidays in the Comunidad Valenciana are among the minority.
Tourists staying in hotels and resorts spend 66% of their money – estimated to be €416m a year in the eastern region alone – on ‘occasional use’ consumer goods, such as clothes, electronics, souvenirs and other items not needed for daily living or which do not ‘run out’.
PATECO says the spike in retail sales at certain times of the year, such as summer, is a good indicator of the fact that tourists are parting with a lot of their money in shops rather than in other areas, like restaurants, bars, excursions, and so on.
In parts of Spain where package tourism is in the majority, those staying in aparthotels in resorts on a self-catering basis are, naturally, likely to shell out most of their money in shops, although this is less likely to be the case for people in hotels, even if theirs is not an all-inclusive deal since a significant slice of the budget will be on eating out.
PATECO carried out the study to find out which side of the ‘open-all-hours’ debate made more sense.
In 2012, the then PP-led national government granted ‘Major Tourism Influx Zone’ (ZGAT) status to hundreds of coastal towns around Spain, and traders in ZGATs were given permission to open whenever they liked.
This included Sundays and bank holidays and, in theory, also overnight.
But small, family-run businesses have complained large national or multi-national firms will benefit from ‘unfair competition’ at their expense.
This resulted in several towns applying for their ZGAT status to be removed.