World Travel Market
The Andalusian government’s Tourism, Trade and Sport councillor, Luciano Alonso, had a business breakfast at London’s World Travel Market (WTM) with representatives of almost a dozen British tourist operators, that have estimated that 2012 will be a ‘very positive’ year for Andalusia ‘from all points of view’, according to ABC Destinations’ co-president Robert S. Paris.
In this sense, Paris specified to the press that the area’s stability “is a symptom of recovery and will be good for Andalusia”. Also, he added, months like October and March, “that are of a low touristic level”, are increasing.
The operators that have participated in this encounter are Kirker Travel – City Tourism and Getaways, Martin Randall Travel – Cultural Trips, United Kingdom’s Independent Tour Operators Association (AITO), Page & Moy Travel – Personalised Trips, Golf Breaks – Golf Tourism, ABC Destinations – Luxury Tourism, and Flamenco Tours – Flamenco Tourism.
Alonso has pointed out that next year the United Kingdom “will still be looking at Andalusia, there will be an increase in expenses, in the number of tourists and overnight stays, not sure how much, last year the tour operators got it right and hopefully they will this year as well”.
At this point, he refused to make any predictions for this year’s closure or for 2012 but he has pointed out that “there will be increases for sure”. “We are going through a tremendous uncertainty but we have spent years where it had declined – in British tourism – and we are recovering”, said the councillor.
These professionals have emphasized the importance of the offer’s diversification and have shown interest in the Andalusian interior middle cities, the gastronomy, the culture, as well as protected natural parks such as Doñana, Cabo de Gata and Cazorla. “They are not just going to settle for the traditional routes, they want new ones and have shown a lot of interest”. he stated.
Another sector on which the tour operators have insisted has been Golfing and its strength in the United Kingdom “as a fundamental element”. Although Malaga and Cadiz gather 80% of the Andalusian courses, according to Alonso they have requested that it intensifies in Huelva.
The Andalusian tourism councillor has pointed out they have equally shown interest in Sierra Nevada, “with the offer’s transformation for the youth”, rejuvenating this way the arrival of tourists from the UK, in which the average age is 45 years old, and has also named Malaga capital city as an example: “we are heirs to the Roman Theatre, the Cathedral, Gibralfaro or the Alcazaba but we also have the Picasso Museum or the Thyssen; it’s not all only sun and beaches”.
“We create new products, we go a step further and that is tremendously valued”, he manifested, whilst he added the importance of the quality, “that is increasing day by day in Andalusia”; the improvement in hotels, the catering, with over a dozen ‘Michelin’ stars; the proximity and the frequency of flights to Andalusia.
On the other hand, the Andalusian councillor has referred to the meeting held in this fair with the tour operator Natalie Tours, specialized in the Russian market, an issuer of which its arrival has increased from January to September by 40 per cent.
To be specific, 98.000 travellers have been received from this market, that have a a high purchasing power; in fact, the idea is to extend the market to Ukraine with an air connection with Kiev. “It’s not only about the tourists coming here, but how we treat them and the experiences we offer them as well”, insisted Alonso, who reminded the importance of loyalty and constancy.