Our Love Affair With Spain

By | Category: Travel rumblings

From the late 1950’s when Benidorm launched itself as a tourist destination, we have loved going to Spain for our holidays. The seventies led to a string of comedy films and TV series exploiting our interest in Spain for a holiday. As Spanish resorts adapted to changing holiday wishes in the nineties and this decade it seemed our love affair would never end.
Some “experts” are now saying the appeal of Spain is declining and quote figures from the Spanish Tourism, Commerce & Industry Ministry which has announced that in 2009 8.1% fewer of us visited Spain. Other places like the US, Egypt and Turkey are attracting more of us. True, but by far and away, Spain is the place that still attracts more holidaymakers than any other place. Last year some 8.7% fewer travellers went there, so British holidaymakers were still visiting in very slightly higher numbers than average. In total, only 52.5 million tourists from around the world visited Spain last year
And in January of this year, the level of decline looked to be less again. Overall, tourism to Spain in January increased slightly to 2.54 million visits. In January only 528,000 of us went to Spain. Only half a million! That signifies the end of a love affair? There are a few things that will indicate whether we are falling out of love with Spain and until I see those, any changes will probably only reflect the economic woes and where the best deal is to be had. The first is when we see the big package holiday companies like Thomson, First Choice and Thomas Cook making substantial cutbacks in flights over a few years instead of just one-offs. The second is when easyJet and the charter airlines like Monarch and Jet2 do the same and the final change will be when the Spanish Tourist Board reduces substantially the presence that it has at travel trade shows. Since none of these is happening I can’t see that a smaller number of us going to Spain reveals anything more than economic woes and the financial incentives to go elsewhere. If Spain competes with the prices that some of its rivals charge, British visitors will increase.

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