Spanish holiday costs and bureaucracy leave timeshare owners out in the cold
British favourite holiday destinations have long been the Costas, islands and archipelagos of Spain, but all that may be about to change.
Several recent alterations in the conditions for UK holidaymakers may cause potential tourists to opt for more welcoming destinations instead. Except for timeshare owners, who really don’t have a choice…
Increased accommodation costs
A recent Reuters article revealed an eye watering 36% year on year increase in average hotel rates in Spain from April this year. These rises are quoted as being in response to the increase in energy costs and other inflation. Experts believe that means a certainty in similar surges for timeshare costs.
“Timeshare companies charge annual fees, ostensibly to cover the running costs of their resorts,” explains Andrew Cooper, CEO of European Consumer Claims (ECC). “Given that the same factors affect those fees as forced the hotels to inflate their prices, it is difficult to imagine timeshare outfits not demanding similar hikes. Especially when you take into account the resorts’ track record of ‘profiteering’ from outside factors.”
€100 per person per day
The Spanish Ministry of the Interior also recently incorporated a rule that non EU citizens such as Brits need to be able to prove they have a minimum of €100 (£85) per person per day of stay in Spain.
British visitors can be challenged when arriving at the Spanish border, and asked for proof of these funds. This means that a family of four on a two week holiday needs to have €5600 (£4730) available. A figure many Brits just don’t have in the bank.
The financial requirements go further still as each visitor has to be able to show they have a minimum of €900 (£767) available, even if only staying for one week.
Timeshare owners are a broad cross section of society and statistically, many of them will not meet these stringent new financial requirements. If determined to take a Spanish holiday, people who don’t have the required amounts in the bank must take the risk of being refused entry when arriving in Spain.
Currently the Costa Del Sol provinces are debating the idea of implementing a tourist tax of around €1:50 per person per day. Supporters of the tax believe it will attract ‘tourism of the highest quality’.
Leaving aside the distasteful debate on whether having more money equates to being ‘higher quality’ tourists, the idea of charging beleaguered holidaymakers even more money in the current economic climate is a concern for opponents of the tax. “Entering a potential recession… I do not think it is the time to raise a tax as it may go against the competitiveness of Malaga as a destination,” said Carlos Perez-Lanzac, president of the Andalusian Tourist Housing Association.
These changes are in addition to a dramatic U-turn regarding a move to ease Spanish airport congestion. UK passport holders arriving in Spain were set to be able to use automatic e-gates to enter the country.
In a what is being seen as a counterproductive move, UK arrivals have been told they must still get their passport stamped manually even if they use the e-gates to enter Spain. Meaning airport congestion is expected to get worse, not better, as we head into prime holiday season.
To add to the airport delay nightmare, Brits must now also show evidence of an onward or return flight, and proof of accommodation already booked.
Regular holidaymakers can choose to avoid countries that add such layers of difficulty and expense to visitors.
Market forces mean that many of of Spain’s tourism customer base will opt instead for Portugal or other short haul destinations such Bulgaria or Greece. There are plenty of countries vying for the British tourist pound.
These destinations also offer great beaches and holiday attractions, but without the kind of obstacles listed above.
… but not for timeshare owners
Most timeshare owners bought their memberships in the late 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. It was a smart choice to make at the time and considered the best way to guarantee a high standard of vacation. Unfortunately timeshare has not aged well, and the rest of the holiday industry now provides better value in terms of standards and flexibility.
Most British timeshare members own in Spain. Theoretically they could exchange to another resort, even potentially in the UK.
In reality the exchange system seldom works. If you own in Spain, realistically you have to go to Spain.
Use it or lose it
“Timeshare owners in Spain have pretty limited options,” says Andrew Cooper. “They have to pay their maintenance fees whether they holiday or not. They are faced with the stark choice of not using their membership, while still paying for it, or to use it and accept such financial or bureaucratic obstacles as the Spanish authorities see fit.
“If like a high percentage of Brits they don’t have the required amount of money in the bank, they will have to hope they don’t get stopped and asked for proof of funds.”
Time to get out?
Many timeshare owners are either unaware that they can relinquish their contracts with expert help, or they are not sure who to trust with the task. Most European timeshare contracts written in the last two decades also contained illegal elements, contravening consumer protection laws. For those members affected, this can mean they are owed compensation from their resort.
Anyone wanting to discuss their options regarding escaping from a burdensome timeshare commitment can get in touch with the team at ECC for a free, confidential consultation.
- Spanish hotel rates surge 36% as tourism takes off in April
- Savings statistics: Average savings in the UK
- UK tourists must prove they have €100per day to enter Spain
- Cities across Spain’s Andalucía debate tourist tax
- European Consumer Claims
- Timeshare exchange system failures highlighted by COVID and Ukraine war
- Escaping unwanted timeshare memberships
- What timeshare owners bought, vs what they got
- Do you qualify for timeshare compensation? A quick guide:
- 2020 timeshare “Maintenance Heist” leaves owners desperate to escape contracts
- Why did people buy timeshares, and more puzzlingly why do they stay members?
- Who is Andrew Cooper? Meet the CEO of European Consumer Claims
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First published on MyNewsDesk August 2022