Andalucía featured prominently in this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) which took place in London between the 7th and 9th November. It is estimated that Andalucía will see a 20% rise in British tourists next winter and during the high season. It is also expected that the impacts surrounding the impact of ‘Brexit’ will not be felt at least in 2017.
As well as the sun and beach holidays the aim is to diversify, such as with the capital of Malaga as a key complement to the new trend of making several breaks a year ‘city breaks.’ The good air connections make this an easy option as Malaga airport is well connected with direct flights to 18 cities in the UK. Malaga is also the third largest city in Europe with more air connections with Britain. These forecasts of growth, with a 27.7% increase in the offer of seats to fly this winter are vital for tourism.
The United Kingdom is the main source of foreign tourists which accounts for 30% of the business of hotels and more than a third of those travelling through Malaga airport, more than 4.4 million arrivals and departures. If British tourists sneeze, the Coast suffers flu, but at the moment it is enjoying the best state of health. This increase in tourism to the province has been helped by the instability of strong competitors like Turkey or Egypt.
The goal is to maintain this strong momentum and in the meantime to draw a new roadmap and dodge, if necessary, the effects of Brexit. Entrepreneurs consider it key to renovate hotels to make them the centre of the travel experience and to be innovative by aiming at new tourist profiles.
The president of the Junta de Andalucía, Susana Díaz, stressed that this region is one of the the main destinations of the English who have Spain as their favourite country to travel. That is why 2016 has been the best year of British tourism in the province, with 17% more travellers and 18% more overnight stays, almost six million. To maintain this level, it announced a plan to reinforce the brand and redirect tourist products towards those new trends that value urban tourism and the offer of complementary leisure or gastronomy. She also urged to work to adapt to a more demanding traveller who wants new attractions, to know more deeply the country and to coexist with its people. Andalusia is a reference for any Briton when it comes to thinking about their holidays. The film lover will know that he has an ideal place in Almería, or those that want to enjoy good food should think of Huelva as the Spanish capital of gastronomy, not forgetting that it already offers those who want sun and beach, or play Golf, “said Diaz.
For his part, the Board of Tourism of the Junta de Andalucía, Francisco Javier Fernandez, also noted that the new scenario that will occur in the United Kingdom will bring changes. However, he said that “there is one thing that will not change: the great valuation and attraction of the British tourist for the destination of Andalusia. The British citizen is very clear that traveling is not a luxury but a necessity and will not stop doing it, however complicated it may be, “he said. The challenge, is that the Andalusian offer should continue to increase its competitiveness in order to consolidate its privileged position. “At the Junta de Andalucía we are clear that this increase in competitiveness will be determined by betting on a comprehensive offer, where the concept of sun and beach will continue, as well as to open the way in other areas such as urban tourism”. He also added: “The portfolio will have to be diversified by expanding its coverage to new groups and niche markets, such as young or older people with a certain purchasing power “. Finally, he felt it was essential not to lose momentum in terms of quality. “Differentiation via quality will continue to be our best hand to win the game to competitors,” he insisted.
In this sense, President Costa del Sol Tourism, Elías Bendodo, said that it is necessary to “continue to re-qualify the Costa del Sol offer to increase spending on the destination and advance promotion during the winter months, as well as offering other types of packages. To advance in the commercialization of the region by signing agreements with operators and airlines, as well as in the knowledge and the improvement of the reputation of the Costa del Sol brand.
The mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre spoke of The WTM, as a good indicator in the tourism industry, which has also shown a change in the trend in British tourism by splitting holidays into long weekends and weekends and promoting Malaga as an ideal destination for a ‘city break’. Another proposal is to diversify the profiles of tourists and seeking agreements with specialised operators.