Palma.—The Spanish tourist board, Turespaña, has officially told the main UK and European tour operators that there is no money for co-marketing this year and its poor financial situation could not have come at a worst time with regards to the UK market.

The latest summer holiday figures published in the Bulletin last week, show the market is not that lively and Spain and the Balearics are currently down on last year with some tour operator bosses warning that Spain could face a struggle to win over the British market.

Apart from the obvious problems every one is facing across Europe because of the financial crisis, the British government is going to roll out yet another multi-million pound campaign to persuade Britons to holiday in the UK this summer.

A range of Olympics-themed discounts is due to be launched this week in a major domestic tourism drive designed to boost ‘staycations'.
The campaign will offer 20.12% off at participating hotels, meals, guided tours and entry to attractions, with discounts funded by the industry. Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt is to unveil the plans tomorrow with more than three million hotel rooms reportedly lined up to provide price cuts.

A dedicated website will carry the discounts and the scheme will be promoted by a £3 million television advertising campaign. When the campaign was announced many in the trade whose livelihoods depend on overseas holidays branded it a “scandalous waste of money”.

The VisitEngland ‘holidays at home are great' campaign is hoped to create 12'000 jobs, encourage 5.3 million extra short overnight breaks and generate £480 million in extra spending over three years.

Hunt was reported as saying: “With the Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Olympic Games, this year is the perfect opportunity for more of us to holiday in the UK. “With so much going on, and this fantastic new 20.12% discount scheme, it's a great opportunity to see what Britain has to offer.” He added: “The inevitable moans and groans in the run up to an Olympics must not cloud the scale of the opportunity - including our biggest ever tourism marketing campaign to make sure we get a lasting benefit from being in the global spotlight.” Further market research has also revealed that Londoners are 11% more likely to stay in the city during the Olympic Games than they were for the same period in 2011.

The research by Amadeus, in conjunction with Forward Data SL, analysed scheduled departures from all London airports.
The findings go against speculation that those living in the capital are desperate to escape abroad during the Olympic period.
According to Diane Bouzebiba, Managing Director, UK & Ireland of Amadeus, it also gives UK travel agents “an opportunity for targeted offers for those staying in the UK.” The fact that we're not seeing a mass exodus of UK outbound passengers at this time means that the UK travel industry can offer services to domestic travel.” Perhaps Spain should try and find some money, and fast.

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