Spain’s popularity among British package holidaymakers is showing no signs of abating, with the destination’s growth more than doubling that of this summer’s next big mover, Greece.
According to official Gfk Leisure Travel Monitor figures for the UK market, an additional 270,000 British tourists landed in Spain to vacation in one of the most popular destinations in Europe as of the week to June 24.
Trailing by some distance in second spot was Greece which has seen a rebound from the problems associated with the Syrian refugee crisis two summers ago to be up by 95,600 passengers.
Other growing destinations include the Caribbean, Croatia, Cyprus and Portugal. Marginal growth has been seen by the Cape Verde Islands, Portugal, Mexico and Italy.
In contrast, the Gfk data shows Canada, France, Malta, and the United Arab Emirates to be down on last year.
Understandably, given the fact that Sharm el Sheikh Airport continues to be closed to UK carriers, Egypt has seen the third biggest decline.
Turkey, which has been the big loser in recent years due to terrorism fears, remains 70,000 passengers down on last year, despite reports of signs of a recent turn around in fortunes.
Spain’s tourism industry has returned better than expected figures so far in 2017 as holidaymakers appeared to have rediscovered the country’s attractions amid turmoil and safety concerns in other once-popular destinations.
The number of foreign tourists that visited Spain in the first five months of this year nearly reached the 28-million mark, a figure that was 11.6% higher than in 2016, the National Statistics Institute (INE) said. According to data it provided, Spain received 7.9 million international visitors just in the month of May, an 11.7% increase year-on-year.
Most of the tourists came from the United Kingdom (6.4 million) and Germany (over four million).
The majority of holidaymakers from abroad (more than 23 million) arrived via airplane, a 13% rise compared to the same period in 2016, the INE said.
The bulk of travellers stayed for an average length of 4-7 nights, a choice made by almost 13.8 million tourists, 9.9% more than in the previous year between January-May.
The figures represent an improvement on those predicted by Spain’s hoteliers who had already presented an optimistic forecast for 2017’s summer season, foreseeing that the number of foreign tourists visiting the Iberian nation would increase by almost 9% compared to 2016.
The head of the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation (Cehat), Juan Molas, said during a press conference that Spain is expected to welcome 56.7 million visitors from abroad between January and August, almost 9% higher than in the same period last year.
“If our reservation forecasts are met and there are no anomalies, according to this increase’s weighted average it could be that we surpass the 80-million figure by the end of the year,” Molas added.
As to Spain’s internal market, reservations between January-August were estimated to be 6-7% higher than in 2016, although Molas pointed out that in some parts in the north of the peninsula, the growth was as high as 10%.
Cehat’s president stressed the recovery of Spain’s domestic tourism sector, which he said was now at the same level as before the severe economic crisis that hit Spain in 2008.