The ITB Berlin international tourism fair opened yesterday with the German travel industry keen to press that Spain is still the top destination, “but exotic destinations, in particular the Caribbean” are catching up. According to an annual study carried out on the holiday habits of Germans, “Spain is still the champion destination,” but it is facing tough competition. The survey canvassed 8'000 Germans in January this year and Spain topped the list - accounting for 14.8 per cent of the market, followed by Italy, Austria and France. But, the number of German visitors to Spain last year dropped slightly and a further fall is expected this year. According to German tourism experts, one of the reasons is the recovery of the Turkish market, but also a huge increase in demand for Caribbean holidays and the number of Germans heading for exotic holidays is expected to continue increasing over the next few years as the cost of the more traditional destinations, such as the Balearics, rises. For the first time ever, the number of German tourists heading for non-European destinations is larger than the total number of Germans coming to Spain. What has also been revealed is that over the next ten years the size of Germany's holidaying population is forecast to grow significantly, so over the next week, competing resorts will be keen to make sure they can guarantee a slice of the expanding action for the future.

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