By Ryan Harrison
SPAIN'S holiday resorts, once famous for pioneering the package holiday, are now experiencing the worst drop in bookings for several years.
Decades of Britons holidaying in Majorca and on the Spanish mainland have successfully secured the destination as the world's most popular place for a break. However, figures out recently suggest a down-turn in profits for the tourist trade of up to 20% in Majorca, and bookings for package deals down across Spain by 10%. The news has been put down to a shift in the holiday market. The increasing choice of holiday destinations open to people, and the competition on price that this creates, and a new demand for home ownership abroad has triggered the down-turn. Shaun Tipton, spokesman for ABTA, said: “We have heard through our travel agencies about a 10% fall in holidays across Spain, with the majority of the losses in package deals.” “Although Spain is still by far the most popular holiday destination for Brits, it is being challenged by cheaper resorts in Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece.” “Over half a million people in Britain now own villas or time share in Spain, and this also affects the number of bookings for hotels,” he added.
In June, Thomson Holidays for the first time gave people the chance to purchase properties in Spain at their local high street travel agent. In conjunction with the overseas property specialist Parador, Thomson said it's new venture was a response to a growth in overseas ownership. A perceived lower cost of living abroad has meant that as many as 38% of Britons are considering buying a property, increasing to 50% in the 16-24 age group. Thomson marketing director, Miles Morgan, said: “The shape of the travel industry has changed massively over the last few years. Thanks to the growth of low cost travel, television programmes about living abroad and people looking to invest in property rather than pensions, owning a home abroad is now a realistic option.” As the number of Britons on holiday in Spain dwindles, the growth of foreign tourists visiting the Majorca and the mainland accelerated last month. Figures from the Tourist Ministry show a year-on-year rise of 7.8 foreigners holidaying in Spain, which increased further in June. There was a rise of 7.3% in German and 12.9% in French tourists across Spain, with the number of Britons rising by just 1.5%. In the Balearics, foreign visitors increased by 1.8% year-on-year in June, bouyed by a 12% rise in German visitors. The number of Britons though, the biggest group of foreign visitors, declined by 4.9%.
A total of 5.2 million people visited Spain in June, with the Balearics still proving popular, receiving a quarter of this total.


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