Brexit seems to have been put on the ‘backburner’ in London this week, certainly at ExCeL London where, in the Royal Victoria Dock, the World Travel Market London is being held, the second in importance for the Costa Blanca after Fitur.
Despite the recent bankruptcy of giant Thomas Cook the industry is still very buoyant and, for the moment, the negative effects of Brexit have yet not caught up with tourists from the United Kingdom.
That of course is good news for Spain and in particular the Costa Blanca, the authentic fishing ground of foreign visitors for the province, with four million British visitors a year, 55% of the foreign total.
According to representatives of the employers’ association Hosbec who are present in London, “after ruling out a hard short-term exit by the United Kingdom, Brexit is not the main topic of the conversation and right now the British have their eyes on the elections December at which many people are expecting the emergence of an anti-Brexit front, ”said Nuria Montes, general secretary of Hosbec.
During the middle of this year there was speculation of a fall in the programming of tourist packages to Benidorm and the Costa Blanca for the first half of 2020. Well, on Monday, British tour operators announced quite the opposite with rises of around 6% of tourism from the UK during the first six months of the 2020.
The sun and beach model seems to be working well and not even the change in the way in which holidays are being sold, the traditional tour operator only moves 30% of the market, influences the decision of British tourists when choosing their holiday location.
Of course, caution still exists, because nobody knows how a market that is very price sensitive will react. However, the British need to get away from the UK at least once a year and destinations such as Benidorm are key. At the moment, the province is much better positioned than the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands in its relationship with Britain but, nevertheless, hoteliers fear that their Mallorcan and Canarian colleagues may be about to launch a spiral of offers in the fight for the British tourist who is currently choosing the beaches of the Costa Blanca.
So far the data for next Spring is optimistic and at the Alicante-Elche airport schedules from the United Kingdom show a growth of 4.4 % compared to the same period in 2018/2019.
The president of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig , who headed the Community’s tourist delegation to London, stressed that the AntiBrexit Plan in the Consell involves “an investment of 1.6 million euros and aims to consolidate the position of Community tourism in the United Kingdom”.
“We are sure that Brexit will not mean any break with the Community.”
XIMO PUIG, PRESIDENT OF THE GENERALITAT
Puig visited the World Travel Market together with the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto and the president of the Diputación, Carlos Mazón. He also held meetings with tour operators and media in the United Kingdom and with representatives of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA).
“We are committed to the fact that Brexit is not a rupture, that it is a transitory situation and that we will maintain the relationship that we have always had, both in the export market and in the tourism market,” Puig said. He stressed that tourism “enjoys good health and is in a good time,” and referred to the data made public by the National Statistics Institute on Monday, which shows that during the month of September, tourism spending by British visitors has grown by more than 6.5%.
“We must work hard at our after-sales, so that the British residents also feel at home.”
CARLOS MAZÓN, PRESIDENT OF THE DIPUTATION
The president of the Diputación de Alicante , Carlos Mazón, said that “against the shadow of Brexit we continue to work together with the Generalitat. The Valencian administration works hard to attract tourists and residents to the Community and, especially, to the province of Alicante and the Tourist Board, does so in the areas of after sales, reception and care when they arrive”.
He said that Alicante is the province in Spain with most British residents, about 70,000, which is why “we will also work in kindness, hospitality and friendship with one of our main ambassadors for the British market, the British residents themselves who live and enjoy our province. We will partner with them to help sell the benefits of our land”.