Elías Bendodo understates the decline of the national market when he says that Spaniards are traveling more outside Spain
Historical records will show that this summer the Costa del Sol achieved a remarkable feat by breaking through the barrier of 7,000 million euros in revenues received. This has been accomplished by attracting more travelers and tourists who, between June and September, spent 459 million euros in the region, more than in the same period last year.
The successful summer has made it clear that the Costa del Sol is still a preferred destination for international travelers
Looking back on a high season in which, also for the first time, the Costa del Sol welcomed seven million travelers, 350,000 more than ever before, the president of the public company, Turismo Costa del Sol, Elías Bendodo, and the head of the Costa del Sol Hotel Businessmen Association, Luis Callejón Suñé, are understandably upbeat. “It has been a spectacular summer,” said Bendodo. He downplayed the downturn in the domestic market, which is becoming more acute in the hotel business.
He went on to explain that the 8.6% reduction in domestic travelers staying in hotels, and the 11.4% loss of stays of domestic visitors in hotels, has been offset by the strength shown in international markets. “It is not that we have done anything wrong,” he said. “What happens is that when there is an economic recovery, Spaniards prefer to take the chance of traveling abroad. This is the only explanation.” He went on to say that international travelers are the priority market for the Costa del Sol and that a promotional strategy in line with the importance of these travelers has been established.
The successful summer has made it clear that the Costa del Sol is still a preferred destination for international travelers, both in the traditional markets like Britain and Germany, with increases of 7% and 19%, respectively, and also among Nordic Countries, which show a rise of 21%, and from Holland with an increase of 32%. “There are countries like Sweden, from where we have seen the number of tourists visiting the Costa del Sol grow by 42%,” Bendodo said. “This success in the Scandinavian market shows we have a lot to work with here. Hence, the airport shows a passenger gain of 11.6% in this high season.”
Bendodo also highlighted the growth of employment in the sector which, with an increase of 8%, now employs 112,000 people in the province. He also argued that the strength of tourism should serve as an incentive to provoke a positive “drag” effect on other sectors such as construction and food.
Assessing the business figures, Suñé insisted the overall computation is positive. He said there had been growth in the numbers of travelers, and a slight decrease in overnight stays. Specifically, 13.9 million stays were registered over the summer period, some 0.6% down on the previous year. But with an increase in bookings of tourist apartments, not in holiday homes, the real figure is an increase of 2.3%. “Summer figures are on an ascending line,” he said. As for the increase in prices, he noted that rates are actually in line with those in the years’ 2008 and 2009; summers that preceded the crisis.