Hospitality industry associations support the introduction of the tourist tax and the bylaw on residential properties for tourist use
City Councillor Sindo Guinarte and sector representatives have analysed the situation of tourism in Santiago, as well as the work lines currently underway in the Department of Tourism.
Pazo de Raxoi, Santiago’s City Hall, was the venue for a meeting between the Councillor for Tourism, Sindo Guinarte, and representatives from Santiago’s principal hotel and catering associations: Asociación Hostelería Compostela, Unión Hotelera and Hostalaría.gal. The meeting provided an opportunity to analyse the situation of tourism in the city this summer and address key issues for the sector, namely the new bylaw regulating residential properties for tourist use, the tourist tax and the Sustainable Tourism Plan.
The Councillor provided an overview of the principal tourism figures for the summer, which have exceeded those of 2019. Mr Guinarte highlighted the fact that up until July, overnight stays in the city’s hotels stood at just under 800,000, slightly higher than for the same period in the year before the pandemic. He also mentioned the positive figures for Santiago-Rosalía de Castro Airport, which this summer consolidated its position as Spain’s best performing airport.
Sindo Guinarte also offered a detailed insight into the objectives of the new municipal bylaw regulating residential properties for tourist use. According to the Councillor, the objective is to limit the excessive proliferation of this type of short-term lets and prevent their negative impacts on life in the city, such as unfair competition with the rest of the accommodation sector and the shift from residential to tourist lets, which would lead to a rise in rental costs for the local population, forcing them to move out of the city to neighbouring municipalities.
Also discussed during the meeting were the Council’s reasons for requesting a regional law allowing the introduction of a tourist tax in Santiago de Compostela. In this case, the sector representatives expressed their support for the move, as it would not impact on tourist demand in the city and would enable the influx of tourists to offset the financial strain placed on municipal services due to the increase in population numbers in the city during the high season.
Finally, the Councillor explained the current state of the Sustainable Tourism Plan, set to become a key tool in maintaining Santiago’s tourism drive in 2023 and the following years, once the Holy Year comes to an end. In this sense, five actions included in the Plan were highlighted: the creation of a local sustainable tourism observatory; the creation of a universal design and accessibility plan for the city’s sites of tourist interest; the launch of an international competition for the illumination of spaces around the Cathedral, and which could be extended throughout the historic quarter; the creation of the Galician Centre for Gastronomic Culture; and the tender for a signage project for all the sites of tourist interest within the municipality.