TOURISTS won't give up their holidays this year because of the economic slowdown, according to a report from the Spanish tourist board, Turespaña.
However, Turespaña says that there will be a reduction in the average number of days that tourists stay in the country, as well as a reduction in the amount of money that they spend.
The study reveals that there has been a progressive decrease in the classic package and 14-day holidays in favour of more competitive destinations that are benefitting from the effect of the strong euro.
From January to March this year, the number of foreign tourists coming to Spain grew by 5.3 percent, while the tourist spend was up 8.9 percent on the same period last year, according to the report.
Turespaña says that the economic situation is not materialising itself at the moment in a decrease in demand.
However, the slowdown in consumption, the strength of the euro and the increase in the cost of petrol will shape the behaviour of the sector in the coming months, according to the report.
The strength of the euro will benefit destinations such as Egypt and Turkey compared with Spain. The weakness of the dollar also favours trips to the United States, the Caribbean and southeast Asia. The increase in the price of fuel is also having a detrimental effect on long-distance markets, which already find that the eurozone has become extremely more expensive.
However, despite the challenges, Turespaña forecasts a very positive growth in demand for Spanish holidays in mature markets that are looking for sun, sea and sand, given the number of bookings that have been made so far this year.
The cruise sector is continuing to grow, but the luxury hotel market is losing competitiveness, according to the report.
The report also highlighted the profound transformation in the habits of tourists. In the context of stong competition, tourists are increasingly booking and organising their holidays by themselves online.
Of the total, 68 percent of tourists now travel without a package, compared to 30.4 percent that travel with one.