Spain is a popular tourism destination and many entrepreneurs choose to open a hotel in Spain or engage in this sector. Businessmen can purchase an accommodation unit that is available for sale and redesign it according to their vision or they can built a new hotel in their selected Spanish region (usually, hotels can be found in any city or in well-developed touristic regions).
Our lawyers in Spain can help you find out everything that is necessary about the legislation concerning licensing for hotels and tourism in Spain. We can help you obtain the necessary permits to build and run such a facility in a Spanish city of your choice.
Requirements for hotels in Spain
Entrepreneurs who want to open a hotel in Spain need to obtain a hotel license from the Regional Tourism Authorities. Hotels that have an operational restaurant within their premises will also have to obtain a food handling license. Those who want to build a hotel in Spain will need to have their building plan and/or project approved by the local authorities.
Hotels can only be built if the company or investor has obtained a prior authorization for this type of construction. Moreover, hotels will need to comply with regulations regarding access and facilities for disabled persons. Environment laws and other laws regarding health and safety will also need to be taken into consideration.
Our law firm in Spain can provide you with personalized counselling, if you have a building plan for a hotel in Spain. We can help you complete the formalities for buying the property and commencing the construction of the hotel in a Spanish region.
What types of construction permits are available in Spain?
Provided that investors will prefer to build a hotel in Spain, they will need to apply for specific permits, depending on the nature of the construction. In the case in which the building only needs refurbishment operations, the businessmen will have to apply for a municipal works permit. This permit is also requested when the previous building is demolished. The following can also be necessary:
- • Municipal Activity Permit – it is a type of license that attests the fact that the building complies with the health and safety standards applicable in Spain;
- • in order to obtain the Municipal Activity Permit, the company must also be the owner of the Municipal Works Permit;
- • Municipal First Occupancy Permit – it prescribes the fact that the construction project was developed according to the technical requirements addressed to its purpose;
- • the Municipal First Occupancy Permit can be issued only after an inspection was conducted on the premises of the hotel;
- • Municipal Opening Permit – it grants the right to formally start the activities of the hotel as the license is issued once all the legal and technical requirements are met.
How long does it take to obtain construction permits in Spain?
The period of time in which investors can obtain various construction permits when starting a construction project in Spain (a hotel included) varies based on the number of legal procedures that are available in a given Spanish region. In Spain, the number of procedures for obtaining construction permits varies based on the region; for example, in the city of Badajoz, there are only 10 procedures involved in obtaining construction permits, while in the city of Barcelona, 15 such steps have to be completed.
The number of procedures and the documents that have to be submitted with the local authorities also influence the overall period of time; thus, in Barcelona, investors can expect a period of approximately 153 days to complete all the required procedures. The shortest period of time to obtain the necessary permits is 101 days, in the region of Logrono.
These periods of time are calculated taking into consideration the submission of the necessary documentation, the issuance of the permits, completing the inspections of the local institutions, but it also refers to connecting to the local utilities system. Our team of lawyers in Spain can offer more details on the legal requirements imposed to businesses involved in a construction project.
When involved in a major construction project, such as building a new site or demolishing a previous building, the company will need a written document from an architect that is registered with the Spanish Architecture College, who is hired in the project as site manager.
What is the VAT rate for Spanish hotels?
Businessmen who want to open a company in Spain for a hotel or other accommodation unit have to know that they will be liable for the payment of a set of corporate taxes; the obligation to pay taxes is also applied to the value added tax (VAT) which, in Spain, is imposed at the standard rate of 21%. However, accommodation units in Spain benefit from a reduced VAT rate, that is applied at the rate of 10%.
This is available for the services offered by the hotels to their clients, but the tax is also applicable to camping sites or spa locations. As a general rule, hotels in Spain also provide catering services to their clients and it is common to have at least one catering unit (a café, a restaurant, etc.). In this case, the same VAT rate applies.
Why start a hotel in Spain?
Spain is one of the most attractive touristic destinations in Europe. More importantly, it stands out as one of the main countries chosen by foreign tourists at a global level. For example, in 2017, the country rated as the second most visited jurisdiction at a global level, reaching a total of 82 million visitors.
Since this was the result of a steady growth in the tourism sector (the fifth consecutive year of growth, in 2017), the hotel industry also increased at a rapid pace. In the same year, the investments in the hotel sector accounted for $3.6 billion, which represented an increase of 65% compared to the value of investments performed in 2016.
The most developed regions for hotels in Spain are Barcelona and Madrid; the first has a total of 60,000 guest rooms, while the latter has approximately 50,000 guest rooms. Our law firm in Spain can offer more information on how to register a business in one of these two main business destinations.
Running a hotel in Spain
The owner of a hotel will have certain duties towards the guests, like making public the rates for the rooms. Apart from the health and safety norms they need to comply with, hotels will also have to observe the data protection laws that apply because hotels collect guest data. Hotels must keep the data recorded in their registers for a period of five years and, if the situation should arise, communicate the personal data to the Police.
In order to hire staff for their hotels, investors will need to employ qualified individuals. The employer will need to observe the requirements of the employment law in Spain. For more information about doing business in Spain or the legislation for foreign investments, you can contact our law firm in Spain.