While Spain is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Brits, that could be about to change. Rising costs and a potential new tourist tax could see holidaymakers choose other destinations. But that won't be easy for timeshare owners.
In April 2022, there was a huge 36% YOY increase in the cost of hotels in Spain according to a recent Reuters article, with inflation and energy increases to blame. The same is likely to be true for timeshare costs.
Timeshare companies incur similar costs to hotels and will therefore not be immune from rising running costs. It is for this reason that experts anticipate that the timeshare companies will ultimately pass these costs onto their members with increases in their annual maintenance fees, "Especially when you take into account the resorts' track record of 'profiteering' from outside factors." Says Andrew Cooper, our CEO of European Consumer Claims (ECC).
There is another cost that is going to hit Spanish holidaymakers as well, as the Spanish Ministry of the Interior has introduced a rule that states anyone from outside the EU who is visiting Spain must show they have enough money to stay in the country.
This equates to €100 (£85) per person or every day of their stay.
As such, a family of four who visits Spain for a fortnight will have to have €5,600 (£4,730) available.
Many Brits don't have this much in savings, and it will simply be unaffordable.
The same is true for timeshare owners, many of whom will not meet the requirements.
They have a choice: pay for a holiday in Spain they can't enjoy, or risk travelling and being turned away.
On top of that, the Costa Del Sol provinces are considering a tourist tax, which will cost about €1.50 per person per day. Why?
Apparently, it will attract higher-quality tourists. But as well as being distasteful by suggesting more money means higher quality, it also seems unfair to be charging more money in the current economic climate.
Carlos Perez-Lanzac, president of the Andalusian Tourist Housing Association, said: "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."
Then there is the U-turn on a potential move to ease airport congestion.
Until recently, UK travellers were going to be able to use automatic e-gates upon arrival at the border. Now, they have to get their passports stamped, leading to more congestion.
In addition, Brits will need to jump through more hoops by showing that they have an onward or return flight on top of proof of accommodation when entering.
For regular holidaymakers, the answer is simple. They can simply change their travel destination to popular alternatives like Greece, Portugal and Bulgaria, which boast fantastic beaches and attractions.
For timeshare owners, things are not as straightforward.
When most owners purchased memberships decades ago, it was considered a good option.
Now, timeshare is outdated, and holidaymakers can get better value from going on regular holidays.
While timeshare owners could in theory change to a different resort by utilising their exchange system, this rarely works very well, meaning owners in Spain often have to stick to the same country.
"Timeshare owners in Spain have pretty limited options," explains 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."
Timeshare owners often don't even realise that they can relinquish their timeshare contracts, or who they can trust to help them do so.
In addition, a lot of timeshare contracts in Europe over the last two decades incorporate illegal aspects, meaning owners could receive compensation.
If you would like to discuss your options regarding leaving a timeshare commitment the right way or about claiming compensation, you can contact the Timeshare Advice Centre for a free and confidential consultation.