#5: Barcelona

Spain's hotel operators say the country sources too many bookings from the UK and Germany, and are looking for new ways to protect occupancy in the long term.
Barcelona and Gaudí's famous Sagrada Família.

Barcelona is the city that made Gaudí famous (or is it the other way around?). No matter who is responsible, this Catalan gem is a favorite among global travelers for its food, shopping and sites, like Gaudí's unfinished Sagrada Família.

The city was one of the top performing hotel markets in Europe in 2016 recording a year-on-year profit increase of 9.6 percent, which was driven by a 6.7-percent increase in RevPAR (Revenue per Available Room) to €165.35, led by a 7.1-percent increase in achieved average room rate. 

Barcelona has become such a popular tourist destination, that the city is attempting to curb numbers. Earlier this year, authorities in Barcelona announced a ban on new hotels or visitor apartments opening anywhere in that city's center, putting the future of its tourism and travel growth into question. 

The ban even extends to not replacing any hotels or apartments that close, with the local government calling for a better balance between tourism and the local community. Hotel groups and associations have issued a joint statement accusing the local government of trying to demonize the industry.

The legislation is set to push Barcelona into the top three cities in Europe in terms of occupancy by 2018, according to PwC, which is predicting that the city will oust Amsterdam to come in third behind Dublin and London at 80 percent.

How this impacts future development remains to be seen.


#5: Barcelona

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The company expects to open more than 30 new Comfort properties in the market by 2033 via its existing franchising agreement with Choice Hotels Japan.

While consolidated revenue for the quarter was up 10.9 percent as reported, it was up 4.1 percent on a like-for-like basis compared to Q3 2018.

Sam Schwartz has spent more than four years with First Hospitality, including most recently as a general manager.