Girona is a picturesque ancient town situated north of Barcelona, near Spain's border with France. The Great Recession of 2008 crippled its housing market. But suddenly, between end-2018 and end-2019, property sales prices surged 15%.
What's behind the sudden property bloom Girona is enjoying? Cyclists!
How's That?: Property developers realised that Girona's pleasant weather, pristine roadways, quiet atmosphere, people, food and culture are perfect for cycling aficionados. Businesses soon emerged offering short-term rentals and marketing the Catalan town far and wide as a cycling Mecca.
Catering to Cyclists: The spike in business has been considerable. Ten years ago, the city had issued just 10 of the tourist licenses required to rent a home for under 32 days. Today, more than 700 have been issued, local brokers say. That growth was in part spurred by a shortage of local hotel rooms and the expansion of platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo.
Local property owners hopped onto the trend by converting their buildings into residential and rental apartments - and cyclists from far and wide were their first customers. For some of these companies, nearly a third of their rental business comes from cycle tourism. (The remaining comes thanks to the city's 2,000-year-long history and its fame as a Game of Thrones shooting location.)
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