Spain is a top holiday destination for Brits, but that might be changing soon due to recent changes in the conditions for holidaymakers that may see tourists choose other destinations instead. But that’s not so easy for timeshare owners…
A recent Reuters article revealed an enormous 36% YOY increase in hotel costs in Spain in April 2022, mainly due to energy increases and inflation. Experts suggest that the same will be true for timeshare costs.
“Timeshare companies charge annual fees, ostensibly to cover the running costs of their resorts,” says Andrew Cooper, our CEO of European Consumer Claims (ECC). “Given that the same factors affect those fees has 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.”
There’s going to be another cost increase for Spanish holidaymakers on top of that. The Spanish Ministry of the Interior recently introduced a new rule stating that anyone visiting from outside the EU must prove they have enough to stay in Spain during their holiday to the tune of €100 (£85) per person per day.
When Brits arrive, they can be challenged at the border and have to prove they have these funds.
Subsequently, this means that a family of four staying for two weeks will need €5,600 (£4,730) available. And that’s not a sum of money that many Brits actually have in the bank.
And even if a visitor is only staying for a week, they must show they have a minimum of €900 (£767).
Many timeshare owners simply will not meet these new requirements. That means if they want to holiday in Spain, they will have to risk being turned away at the border.
And there’s more bad news – the Costa Del Sol provinces are considering introducing a tourist tax of about €1.50 per person per day. The aim is apparently to attract higher quality tourism.
Even without considering whether having more money means higher quality tourists, it seems unfair to charge holidaymakers more in this difficult economic climate.
“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, who is the president of the Andalusian Tourist Housing Association.
Even more bad news comes in the form of the recent U-turn on a move that would reduce congestion at the airport.
UK travellers were set to be able to use automatic e-gates at the border, but now they will have to get their passports stamped manually. This could lead to even more airport congestion.
Brits will also have to show evidence that they have an onward or return flight as well as proof of accommodation they have pre-booked.
Any regular holidaymaker can simply avoid countries that make travelling difficult and expensive.
Many tourists will simply choose to visit Portugal, Greece, Bulgaria amongst other destinations. There are many countries that want to attract the British tourist pound, many of which have amazing beaches and attractions, without the complications.
But things are not so rosy for timeshare owners.
Most owners purchased their memberships between the 1980s and early 2000s. At the time it was considered a good decision. But timeshare has become outdated, and holidaymakers can now enjoy better value from standard holidays.
Most British timeshare owners travel to Spain. In theory, they could change to another resort in another country. But the exchange system rarely works well. Owners in Spain usually have to go to Spain on holiday.
“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.”
Often, timeshare owners don’t realise they can relinquish timeshare contracts. Even if they are, they don’t know who to trust to help them.
On top of that, many European timeshare contracts over the previous two decades contained illegal elements that went against consumer protection laws. This could mean those affected are owed compensation.
If you want to discuss your options to escape from your timeshare commitment, contact the team at ECC to enjoy a free and confidential consultation.