The world’s leading travel trade show took place in Berlin over the weekend and President of the Junta de Andalucía, Susana Díaz, was there on the opening day.
Díaz is reportedly “delighted” at the prospects for German tourism in Andalucia this coming summer following a very successful show.
In 2015 the number of German tourists visiting the region increased by almost 5% and this trend appears to be continuing as there has been a 12% increase in bookings compared to the same time last year.
Over 1.2 million tourists arrived in Andalucia from Germany in 2015, a 4.8% increase over 2014. These visitors accounted for 800,721 hotel nights representing a 3.1% increase. The total of overnight stays by German tourists was a massive 3.8 million. This was a rise of only 0.6%; a small yet significant increase. The average length of a visit was 11.3 days, which is slightly over the Spanish average of nine days.
Two major tour operators, FTI and TSS Group, have both indicated that they have increased their capacity for Spain because they have seen a growth in demand.
Despite the numbers suggesting a good year, Díaz pointed out that the German market had not performed as well as expected in 2015, either in Spain as a whole, or in destinations such as the Costa del Sol and Malaga city, despite up to one third of German tourists visiting those areas. She added that Andalucia was keen to see an increase in German arrivals as they are the third nationality in terms of holiday spend.
“We have come to the ITB with two things in mind: to discover new trends and products which are popular with German tourists and to promote Andalucía as a holiday destination par excellence. We offer a very extensive variety of different facilities and this is what visitors require, so we have the potential for enormous growth,” Díaz said.
According to Díaz, German tourists are loyal to Andalucia and many return to the region year after year. “I am convinced that the figures this year will be higher than last year. Germany is a great ally in terms of tourism and a key market towards our aim of achieving 30 million tourists during this legislature,” she added.
As a means of ensuring the arrival of more Germans this year Díaz explained that work is required to improve air connections between the countries as this is currently the “Achilles heel in this market” adding that there is a need for extra direct flights from German airports to Malaga, Seville and Almeria.
As a results of security scares and terror threats in other popular tourist destinations, including Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt, Andalucia plans to try and make the most of the extra interest in Spain. There has been a reported 40% drop in bookings to those areas. Díaz announced that they plan to invest 2 million euros to promote the area to capitalise on this with up to 50 promotional activities with a big push for Andalucian beaches, golf, health and cruises saying “We want the figures, which are already good, to become extraordinary,”.