For Spaniards, the summer holiday is still a beach, but with WiFi

Playa de Regla, one of the most popular beaches in Cadiz province

Playa de Regla, one of the most popular beaches in Cadiz province

Nine out of 10 like to spend their holidays on the Spanish coast, armed with technology and enjoying the luxury of a hotel

Ninety percent of Spaniards prefer to stay local during the summer holidays, according to the Spanish Holiday Habits survey, carried out by Madison Market Research for Cerveceros of Spain. Half of those interviewed, irrespective of their age, said that the beach was their favorite destination. A third of Spaniards also rated discovering new cities and sampling the cuisine during the summer months.

The weather, the beach and the food are Spain’s main attractions and the reason that little has changed in terms of holiday preferences among Spaniards in the past 40 years, according to the Madison Market research which was investigating the evolution of the country’s holiday habits.

One thing that has changed, however, is the choice of accommodation. From interviews with 2,000 Spaniards across Spain, the survey found that the family holiday home popular until the 1990s has largely been replaced by hotels. This shift coincides with the increase in holiday accommodation on offer, both in terms of hotels and holiday apartments.

Technological gadgets are now a priority with more than half those questioned saying they would have to take their cell phone on holiday.

Spaniards have also changed their packing habits. Technological gadgets are now a priority with more than half those questioned saying they would have to take their cell phone, 15%, their computer or iPad and only a third saying they wouldn’t use social networks while on holiday.

“If we don’t post it online, it’s like we haven’t been,” jokes Jacobo Olalla, director general of Cerveceros of Spain.

Of all the social networks, Facebook was the favorite, followed by WhatsApp and Instagram. Facebook proved most popular among Spaniards from Murcia, Andalusia and Cantabria while WhatsApp topped the bill with Spaniards from the Canary Islands and Galicia. Interestingly, the Catalonians and Basques were found to be least concerned with Internet over the holiday period.

Beer beats other summer drinks
Almost half of those interviewed (43%), said beer was their favorite drink in summer and almost a third said going for a beer on a terrace was a must, along with unpacking and having a siesta, on the first day of their break. This coincides with other findings, which registered a 3% increase in sales in 2015.

This rise in consumption is due not only to greater prosperity but also to the heat waves of 2015 and a more reasonable tax rate on beer, according to Olalla, though sales still haven’t returned to pre-crises levels.

In general, tourism is responsible for 20% of beer consumption in Spain – the fourth biggest beer producer in the EU and leader in no alcohol beer. As much as 54% of the beer consumed in the country is sold in bars, with Spaniards knocking back almost 50 liters per head annually.

Published ElPais 12 August 2016

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