Following yet another record breaking year for Spanish tourism, 2016 is likely to see even more tourists hitting the beaches.
In 2015 the wonders of Spain attracted a massive 54.4 million tourists to its shores. In September alone over 7 million visitors arrived, making it Spain’s busiest September on record.
Once again, the UK was the leading source sending over 12.5 million visitors our way between January and September, followed by France (9,183,150) and Germany (8,270,276) tourists.
Of course, with tourists comes spending and in 2015 this was another record figure. The total expenditure by non-resident tourists throughout 2015 stood at a massive 67,385 million Euros, representing a 6.8% increase over 2014. Most of that money came from British tourists. According to INE, those Brits everyone criticises spent a huge 14,057 million Euros in 2015. So I’m sure Spain can forgive a few unruly stag parties, unless they want to give up the largest part of their profits! This is a 10.3% increase over 2014 and this year is expected to host more visitors so who knows what figure I’ll be reporting this time next year.
German and French tourists came in second and third place with spending of 9,837 million from the Germans (a decrease of 1.9%) and 7,074 million Euros from the French (an increase of 7.9%).
This year has started well with 3.5 million international tourists visiting in January, representing an 11.2% increase on the same period in 2015. Following terrorist attacks and changes to Foreign Office travel advice, tourists are ignoring the usual haunts like Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt, instead opting for the “safer” Spain and Portugal. Hoteliers are recording massive increases in bookings for summer holidays and are urging people to book early to avoid disappointment.
Travel group ABTA have also noticed the increase in demand with Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive saying “The significant increase in summer holiday bookings to western Mediterranean destinations is also being mirrored in other Northern European markets. So it makes it more important than ever that customers book early to obtain the best value and ensure they get the holiday of their choice.”
Travel expert Bob Atkinson said Spain was currently the most searched destination on holiday comparison site TravelSupermarket.com.
Following January’s bomb blast in a busy tourist spot which resulted in ten deaths, Turkey has reported a 50% decrease in reservations.
Mark Warner Travel have cancelled their Turkish holiday programme in its entirety for 2016 stating “We have enjoyed a long and happy history of offering holidays to Turkey and hope to return in the future.”
Meanwhile, Turkish holiday specialists Elixir Holidays have announced they are struggling to compete and are facing administration.
Thomas Cook have also announced that 400,000 seats destined for Turkey have now been allocated to Spain. Thompson Holidays have also increased Spanish options to cope with the massive demand.
Budget airline Monarch, have made changes to their schedule diverting their eight weekly flights to Sharm-el-Sheikh to Spain following the ban on UK airlines flying to the resort which saw 38 people murdered in last year’s terror attack.
Property agency Marbella For Sale have seen an increase in enquiries for holiday rentals in Marbella and the playground to the rich and famous, Puerto Banus, with many of their properties already fully booked for the whole summer.
The increase is surely good news for Spanish businesses but not so great for the tourists as the demand has meant an increase in prices. Room rates are rising due to demand as are flights and car rental costs.
So what to do? If you are planning on spending your summer holidays in Spain, then I suggest you start looking into it now. But shop around, there are plenty of websites offering cheap flights and accommodation so check them all. Don’t book the first one you see and make sure you read the small print!