CREDIT schemes of up to €700 million have been approved to help soften the blow to Spain's tourism industry following the Thomas Cook collapse in September. The government is offering finance of up to €200m...
Tourism firms optimistic about Easter
By thinkSPAIN Team Sat, Apr 13, 2019
DESPITE less-than-favourable weather forecasts for Easter weekend, nearly 92% of travel agencies and tour operators are confident of a great turnout over the holidays and have remarked on a 'positive development' in bookings.
Almost two-thirds of companies in the holiday industry believe their results over the four- or five-day weekend will be at their best since summer, whilst more than three-quarters predict greater sales than over Easter 2018.
These encouraging figures come from a recent survey by Exceltur, or the Alliance for Excellence in Tourism, whose assistant managing director José Luis Zoreda says these high expectations are based upon 'the traditional good behaviour' of the Spanish market.
By this he means that a high number of Spanish nationals tend to use their four days off work to travel within their own borders.
Sightseeing is less common among Spaniards on staycations - this tends to be reserved for foreign visitors - but even if it is not sunbathing weather, many inland and city residents will head for the coast and others will go off on leisure breaks.
And although rain and low temperatures are still expected over the Easter holidays, the bulk of Spain's coast is in the south and east of the country, much of it on the Mediterranean, where the climate tends to be much milder and where bright sunshine and relatively dry conditions are forecast.
According to Exceltur, eight in 10 firms offering leisure activities, 71% of car hire companies and 70% of those providing accommodation in town and city areas are confident of a buoyant Easter.
Transport firms and coastal accommodation companies are less optimistic, with only 52.5% and 53.4% respectively forecasting good trade over the long weekend, although this is still more than half and, in the case of the latter, may be linked to pessimistic weather predictions.
Additionally, tour bosses have warned of a plateau in traditional 'sun, sea and sand' holidays in general in Spain, with other, cheaper destinations - such as Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia - now making a recovery after years of losing customers due to fear of terrorism, meaning Spain is having to work harder to promote its other, undeniable attractions: spectacular monuments, ski resorts, golf courses, spas, delectable cuisine, and some of the most dramatic and beautiful countryside in the whole of Europe.
In fact, Spain has the most UNESCO heritage sites in Europe after Italy, and one of the highest numbers of national parks, not counting its stunning 'regional' parks or official nature reserves, of which there are several in almost every province.
January and February saw a sharp decline in the length of the average stay in tourism accommodation - although this is not always a bad thing, provided visitors arrive back-to-back, since holidaymakers tend to spend more per day on short trips.
And holiday industry firms, in 48% of cases, predict a fall in sales for beach tourism, with 44.3% believing this will affect their overall financial results.
It would take a great deal of effort to compensate for a major loss in beach tourism, given that between 70% and 75% of the holiday industry accounts for this; however, sunshine breaks inland remain under-promoted and could be a feasible alternative and equally as cheap as in more easterly nations: practically all hotels have a swimming pool and outside seating and sunbathing areas, even if they are several hours inland from a beach, whilst many foreign vistors to traditional coastal resorts spend the majority of their relaxation time on the premises in or near the pool rather than on the beaches.
Spain's government is trying hard to promote rural tourism which, as well as keeping the industry alive outside of the summer season, may help to cure the growing ailment suffered by the country's inland provinces: a total of 53% of the population lives in villages of fewer than 1,000 inhabitants.
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