Spain beats off 2007 eastern tourist competition

Spain Beats Off 2007 Eastern Tourist Competition

Concerned tourism bosses in Spain are winning the battle for European holidaymakers, with an impressive 5 per cent rise in visitor numbers for 2007 so far.

The country welcomed over ten million holiday makers in January, February and March – normally viewed as off peak months.

The highest number of visitors came from the United Kingdom, followed closely by Germany.

It was mainly due to the Germans that the numbers were up, as the number of British arrivals actually showed a slight drop, while more than 6 per cent extra visitors from Germany ensured a good start for 2007 for Spain.

The Canary Islands were the most popular part of Spain. Lanzarote, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura enjoy warm winters due to their geographical location near Africa, and have a strong appeal for Britons facing their winter.

The Costa del Sol, a perennial favourite of the British seeking a winter sunshine break enjoyed a boost in arrivals.

The Balearic Island also recorded a rise in visitors.

The Balearics consist of Menorca (the smallest island), Majorca and Ibiza. The small rise compared to the Canary Islands isn’t too much of a surprise as Menorca has a season that traditionally is at its peak early May to end September, but is now trying to extend that from mid April to mid October.

As part of the Balearic Islands, Mallorca has welcomed many visitors back to live full time on the island. Menorca property has proved popular too, for those looking for a gentler pace of life than big sister Mallorca.

Property prices in Mallorca are similar to Menorca property, with a range of apartments and villas in both rural and town locations, and with twenty golf courses plenty of golf course developments too on Mallorca.

Menorca has just the one golf course, recently extended to eighteen holes, and is located in Son Parc, which has a choice of hotels, apartments and villas for holiday makers.

The cost of flying to Mallorca has come down in recent years from most European countries due to low cost airlines, especially in the island’s core tourist areas of the United Kingdom and Germany, and last year easyJet started direct flights from London’s Gatwick Airport to the sister island of Menorca, as well as serving Mallorca itself.

Despite competition from other destinantions, Mallorca looks set to remain a favourite holiday spot for some time to come.

How the second quarter official figures go remains to be seen, but Spain could see a further drop in British arrivals compared to last year.

An unusually warm spell of weather for five weeks in April in the UK could mean that more Brits have booked summer holidays in their home country.

The warm weather, increased airport departure taxes, and environmentally aware travellers could shun an overseas holiday this year.

The new environment warnings of ‘carbon footprints’ is impacting the travel market, with news bulletins regularly reporting that taking a flight adds to global warming. If holidaymakers take heed Spain might also see a drop in visitors from Germany, Scandanavia and other European countries.

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