|Market overview: Madrid vs Barcelona.|
Tuesday, 22nd May 2012
Source : Esther Gladen & Philip Bacon ~ HVS Madrid
Soccer is not the only activity in which Spain’s two most influential cities constantly compete, although it is probably the most emotional.
Madrid, as the country´s capital, offers many advantages to both leisure and business tourism, including its famously vibrant nightlife and an exceptional transport network which makes access to and from the city fast and efficient for both domestic and international travellers.
Barcelona on the other hand benefits, among many other things, from its proximity to both the Mediterranean sea and the Pyrenean mountains as well as its established positioning as one of the leading destination cities in the world.
Both cities boast a dynamic commercial and business environment as well as a fascinating history and cultural heritage with monuments, museums and other attractions that will leave any visitor more than satisfied and wanting to plan a return trip.
The following article presents and compares a selection of travel and tourism facts and figures for Madrid and Barcelona, and considers the current state of the hotel sector in each city.
The metropolitan area of Madrid has a population of approximately 3,3 million, compared to the 1,6 million inhabitants living in the city of Barcelona.
Due to the highly‐developed commercial significance for the country of each of these cities, they have suffered relatively less from the ongoing national and international economic crises than other cities in Spain.
If the unemployment rate is a measure of resistance to economic downturn then Madrid and Barcelona remain ahead of the game, Madrid especially so, with jobless rates in both cities well below the national average which has been hovering around the 25 per cent mark for quite some time.
Both cities boast large international airports, Barajas Airport in Madrid and El Prat in Barcelona. The following figures summarize the activity at each in 2011 and over the past five years.
Last year, Barajas registered 49,6 million passenger movements, 0,5 per cent less than in 2010. Approximately one third of these were international passengers. El Prat saw 34,3 million passenger movements, nearly 18 per cent more than in the previous year.
In the case of Barcelona, the proportion of domestic passenger movements was higher than Madrid at nearly 40 per cent (see graphs below). The largest number of movements in Madrid last year was registered in July, the lowest in February. In Barcelona the maximum was in August and the minimum in January.
The picture for actual visitors to each city is somewhat different. In 2011, the Spanish capital received 8,3 million visitors, whereas Barcelona saw 6,9 million, nearly the same market share (55%/45%) as for airport movements (59%/41%).
But when we look at the mix of city visitors we see (Figure 5) that Barcelona dominates in terms of international tourists, whereas Madrid sees more international passenger movements, reflecting Madrid’s position as a true international hub linking Europe with Latin America.
About the Authors
Philip Bacon, ACA, is Managing Director of HVS Madrid office which, in addition to traditional hotel consulting and valuation services, specializes in advising clients around the world on the development of mixed used hospitality projects and master planned resort communities.
Following a career with Price Waterhouse in London and Barcelona, Philip has gained over the last 20 years comprehensive experience as a finance director and external board adviser in all aspects of hotel and resort development and operations, with particular focus on mixed use resort development including golf and branded residential business models.
Esther Gladen is Business & Market Intelligence Analyst at HVS Madrid. Esther is originally from Düsseldorf and speaks English, Spanish and French in addition to her native German. Esther joined HVS Madrid in September 2007. Her role as Business & Market Intelligence Analyst includes the development and maintenance of the HVS Madrid Office market intelligence data base, the writing of articles and the preparation of market and feasibility studies for clients throughout Europe.
Following her initial professional training as a banker in Germany, Esther has worked in several corporate and entrepreneurial organizations in both Germany and Spain. Prior to joining HVS, Esther, who has lived and worked in Spain for over 20 years, gained extensive management experience during this period in the marketing and sale of leisure real estate, including both whole ownership and shared ownership properties.