Spanish tourism is already suffering from the Brexit debacle that continues without a clear end in site. The frustrating process leading towards the separation between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) has already led to a significant fall in package tourism sales for the Canary Islands with reservations of individual stays for the coming summer reportedly down this winter..
On Gran Canaria, sales were already being reported to have declined by as much as 7% by the end of February. The president of the ASHotel Hoteliers and Hotels Association of Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro, Jorge Marichal, underlined that “the fall in the sale of tourist packages for the summer, especially from the British operators, is already being noticed… influenced by Brexit. It is not as noticeable in package tours as it is in… flights with stays reserved individually by the clients “.
Marichal pointed out that many customers are taking advantage of special offers, especially “to buy packages, which guarantees them a fixed price, especially at all-inclusive establishments” preferring to buy through tour operators to help ensure connectivity and a set price, to protect themselves against a possible loss in value to the pound.
Despite the large fall in bookings to Gran Canaria, the worst affected islands are likely to be Tenerife and Lanzarote, “most linked to British tourism, and to British tour operators”.
Parity in the value of the pound with the euro is one of the biggest concerns in the sector. Juan Molas, president of the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodations (CEHAT), has pointed out that it is one of the factors that “we must take into account, in addition to the air connections offered by aviation companies, and visas.”
According to Molas, British tourists are being cautious when booking. “There is a prevention of purchase by the British. For this reason, we have asked the Ministry of Tourism, regardless of how the situation develops, to come up with a campaign to raise awareness within British tourism, where their loyalty is recognised. Traditionally, 40% of Britons coming from the United Kingdom visit Spain on vacation and in winter one in two comes to Gran Canaria”.
Ashotel have emphasised that the political uncertainty, about the divorce, between both countries is affecting business projects in the industry. “There are many projects that remain on the table and their impact will be noticed within a year. Tourism will be strongly affected if the exit or maintenance mechanisms of companies with British shareholdings within the EU are not taken into account, especially in terms of airline connectivity and touroperation”
Other sectors, such as hospitality and catering, will also suffer the impact of the political process. “Brexit will aggravate the decline of the sector as a whole. It will reach down to all kinds of businesses. We still need to know how they are going to agree because the important thing is that we can [still] save the furniture “