They are the second-most important market for Spain. They have taken over the beaches of Mallorca and Gran Canaria, making up 13.5% of all tourists in the country. It is, therefore, understandable that hoteliers are worried by the fall in Germans this summer, especially in the Balearic and Canary islands. “The change in the German market has worried us”, says Carlos Garrido, president of the National Union of Travel Agencies (UNAV). The shrinking number of package holidays to Spain reached between 3% and 4% at the end of June, massively impacting those destinations most reliant on tour operators: Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca, Tenerife and Gran Canaria, among others.
In fact, hotels in Tenerife hosted the fewest Germans in May (-11%) and the forecast for the next few months does not look any better. “German visitors are deciding against holidaying because they anticipate a recession in their country. Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura are the worst affected because they depend on this market”, explains Juan Pablo González, manager of the tourism association in the Canaries, Ashotel.
The predictions are not good for the high season, when Ashotel predicts that the Canary Islands will be at only 78% capacity. This is 7% below last summer, a drop that González hopes will be compensated for with national figures. The economic slowdown at a Europe-wide level, the return of market competitors such as Turkey , Tunisia or Egypt and high temperatures across the continent are all factors affecting Spain’s tourism industry.
Benidorm is one of the few destinations bucking the trend, with predicted capacities similar to those last year and a stable number of passengers coming into Alicante airport. “We are a market reliant on second homes for foreigners – not tour operators – but we have to stay alert because numbers are falling by up to 30% in the Balearics ”, warns Antonio Mayor, president of the Hoteliers Association in Benidorm and the Costa Blanca (HOSBEC). He is worried it could have repercussions for his area.
To stem the loss of tourists, proprietors on the islands are offering large deals in order to maintain interest from foreign tourists. Airlines are following the same strategy in high season, something unusual according to Javier Gándara. The director of EasyJet and president of the Airlines Association (ALA) confirmed to El Confidencial that flights are full but only after a reduction in prices. Economic deceleration and heatwaves across the continent mean that Europeans have less reason to leave their own countries, without even including the effects of Brexit on UK reside