Gregory Dolgos - Oct 31, 2022
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Guests from Germany and the United Kingdom are the main drivers of tourism in the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands. According to the statistics, in August 2.2 million travelers arrived in the Balearic Islands, and more than half of them were German and British. The Canary Islands received more than one million tourists during the same month, of which 43% were British and 14% German. These source markets are, therefore, crucial for the economy of the islands, including during the winter tourist season.

The sector's prospects for the end of the year are, for the moment, good. In fact, experts expect this winter tourist season to be better than 2019 and in Mallorca, they will keep half of the hotel fleet open in November to meet national and international demand.

Canary Islands – Better Winter Than in 2019 Expected

In the Canary Islands, the forecasts are optimistic for this winter season which, in their case, is the strong season starting in November and ending in April.

"We have had a better summer than in 2019 and we have very good prospects for this winter tourist season, as long as there is nothing abnormal," explains Antonio Vicente Hormiga, president of the Association of Tourist Entrepreneurs of Fuerteventura (ASOFUER). Therefore, the prospects, for the moment, are favorable: "We are going to have a very good winter and we are going to exceed the figures of 2019".

However, the expert recalls that the current context of inflation, global uncertainty due to the war in Ukraine and a possible rise in energy prices prevent any definitive forecast, much less in the long term.

Thus, he expects tourist arrivals to Fuerteventura to increase by 16% compared to 2019 data with the boost of Germans and British. "Therefore, we have enough data to say that it is going to be a good winter," he explained.

Balearic Islands – Depending on the Situation Around

In this context, the tourism sector in Mallorca is also ready to meet the demand for November and December. "During the month of November, about 50% of the hotels will remain open," says Maria Frontera, president of the Hotel Business Federation of Mallorca (FEHM). In addition, 25% of establishments intend to keep their doors open all year round.

"We have to consider that when some people want to keep the hotel open in November, they have to maintain an occupancy in which they do not lose money," says the businesswoman. However, some hotels will close progressively from the second week of November, depending on their location on the island and the services they offer.

In addition, they will monitor, above all, what may happen with the economy in Germany, Mallorca's main tourist engine, especially in winter. "It is important to emphasize that everything depends on the situation around us," she says.

Despite this, she indicates that both in November and the rest of the year, the opening of these accommodations is above data from 2019 and 2021.

What If the Tourists Do Not Come?

But what would happen if the current forecast is not met and the number of German and English tourists falls? For the president of ASOFUER "it would be a catastrophe" because tourism represents 80% of Fuerteventura's GDP and the German market is essential to maintain it.

However, Exceltur predicts in its report that travel demand will remain resilient in the last months of 2022. Among the reasons for such statement is the fact that travelers have more interest in traveling than fear in the face of the war and inflation scenario, and a boost in "pent-up demand", that is, those trips that were not made during the pandemic are being resumed now.

According to these expectations, the Canary Islands will play a fundamental role due to its climate and geography, but will also be accompanied by urban destinations such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, and Galicia and Cantabria leading the tourism of Green Spain.

On this path, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands have, for the moment, good expectations about the winter tourist season, although they are keeping their focus on the possible economic complications that may affect Germany and the United Kingdom, two key factors in their tourism equation.

If the path continues as expected, it could contribute to materialize another of Exceltur's forecasts: to recover these two main European destinations and close the year fully surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

Focusing on the Short Term and Building on Summer Momentum

For the vice-president of Exceltur, José Luis Zoreda, tourism is changing and the sector must get used to making more short-term forecasts. "In any case, we have some hope that in the short term tourism will grow a little," Zoreda explained.

It is not all black and white. Although they are keeping an eye on the economy of these countries, he assures that there are more and more German and Nordic retirees who, depending on energy costs, are considering going to warmer areas such as Spain.

Therefore, the sector is, for the moment, optimistic and has in focus the strong season in the Canary Islands: "The hopes are that they are going to have a good winter".

This good forecast, as he explains, is supported by the good figures collected this summer. In fact, in the third quarter of the year, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands were the preferred destinations for travelers, according to the latest Exceltur outlook. This was boosted by domestic demand, and now the focus is, above all, on maintaining demand from Germany and the United Kingdom.

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