British tourists visiting Spain will be “roasted” under new energy-saving measures that ban air conditioning from being set lower than 27C in the summer, a tourism chief has warned.
The country has approved a new set of rules that will also see heating not be allowed above 19C in winter.
The measures will apply to offices, shops, bars, and restaurants as well as public transport systems and transport centers. Stores will be required to keep their doors shut to maintain temperatures.
They are part of Spain’s drive to cut its gas use by 7% under a recent European Union deal to reduce dependency on Russian gas.
Lights will also have to go off in shop fronts and empty government offices from 10pm, under the new rules.
However, Spain is currently experiencing a very hot summer, with temperatures above 40C in many parts, and the president of Costa del Sol’s tourism board has criticized the measures.
“We want satisfied tourists, not roasted tourists or those who are afraid to walk the dark streets,” said Francisco Salado.
He has called on the government “to spend mental energy on more effective measures”.
He added: “It is as if this decree had been written by a Martian, someone who is deeply ignorant of our country and who has not consulted with anyone.”
He added that “it makes no sense” to force hotels, restaurants, bars, museums, cinemas, shops, train and bus stations, and airports to raise their thermostat in summer to 27 degrees “precisely in the middle of a heat wave”.
It was revealed earlier this week that tourists can continue to keep their hotel rooms chilled, because they are considered “private spaces”, but all other public areas will have to abide by new laws.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced the new package last week, saying, “You just need to walk into a shopping mall to realize that maybe the temperature is set too low.”
Spanish public institutions already operate similar energy-saving regulations.
The government says the measures will not only save energy but will also bring down bills for households and businesses.
Spain is one of the hottest European countries in summer. The country has already had two heatwaves this year with temperatures forecast to soar again in the first weeks of August.