Car hire shortage threatens tourism in Spain - are you affected?
If you're planning on heading to Spain soon for your holiday, you need to know there's trouble brewing in the Costas. The issue facing many arriving there is car hire or specifically, the lack of it. Having spent a week in Costa Blanca, I think it's fair to say there is a massive shortage of cars available, and those you can hire are likely to cost you double the prices paid last year.
Talking to tourists around Murcia and Mar Menor, hire car companies are charging between £200 and £300 a week during July and August, if not more - even a block booking lasting a month may cost well over £1000. The net result is that plenty of families have paid far more for car hire than they have for their flights. On arriving at San Javier airports, the queues stretch back to the luggage belts at one car hire desk, while the others - those with no availability - have idle staff and no custom.
A search around the web reveals a possible cause - Travel Rants suggests the shortage of cars is because of the recession, with companies unable to purchase enough cars to meet demand, therefore pushing up the asking price of those that are available. But it gets worse - readers have left comments explaining that in some cases, car hire companies are cancelling bookings made months in advance with just days' notice, presumably because more money can be made by fulfilling last minute bookings.
According to Travel Rants, those areas worse affected include Malaga, Alicante, Mallorca, Menorca and Barcelona. You can add Murcia to that list, too. Regardless, if you're due to travel to Spain in the next few weeks and already have a car booked, you may be wise to re-confirm the booking. If you haven't booked but know you'll need one, start looking now or have a plan B in mind. Let us know if you're affected by this, or if you've already lost out at the hands of the Spanish hire companies.