London

World Travel Market

05-11-2018

Speaking at the London World Travel Market yesterday, President Armengol said that there is a 58% increase in British winter tourism bookings. She attributed this rise to improvements in air connectivity, while tourism minister Bel Busquets referred to how well the 'Better in Winter' campaign is functioning.

The president's figure differed to one given ahead of the travel fair. At a press conference by leading figures in the tourism industry, Sean Tipton of Abta suggested that there will be a 36% rise in tourism. He qualified this by pointing out that this will represent something of a return to normality (as things were before economic crisis) and would have to be considered in the context of current numbers of winter tourists.

Javier Piñanes, director of the Spanish Tourism Bureau in London, said that tour operators and airlines have a positive attitude towards winter tourism and that there are more flights throughout the winter months. There are some 22% more available seats this winter.

Looking forward to next summer, the forecast is for three per cent growth in British tourism. However, Tipton flagged up the issue of prices. "There is a risk if prices continue to go up in summer, especially because prices in other Mediterranean destinations are lower. There is a problem if the image is one of being very expensive."

With Abta's spokesperson observing that the British market is very price sensitive, he added that a key issue will be the strength of the pound against currencies outside the Eurozone, such as Turkey's lira.

There is of course the whole issue of Brexit and in particular the impact of a no-deal. The national secretary of state for tourism, Reyes Maroto, said in London yesterday that this is the "main uncertainty". A report released for the travel fair suggests that 20 million UK tourists could decide not to travel to European Union destinations for their holidays if there is no agreement.