Despite fears that the credit crunch might adversely affect bookings for holidays in Lanzarote and the Canary Islands tourist numbers are up so far this year. According to figures recently released by the Spanish airport operators AENA and the Lanzarote hoteliers association ASOLAN.
In fact, British visitor numbers to Lanzarote rose by a whopping 16.7% on the previous year during January and February 2008. With accommodation occupancy also surging upwards by 7%.
According to ASOLAN, owners of holiday apartments in Lanzarote have been the main beneficiary of this increase in business. Reporting occupancy levels of 84.19% over the first two months of the year.
Overall, foreign visitor numbers to the island were up 10.9%. With British tourists accounting for 49% of all visits. So dispelling industry fears that the economic situation in the UK might have lead to a collapse in tourist numbers visiting the island. Indeed, these statistics suggest that if anything, the Canary Islands may well benefit. As many consumers still view a holiday abroad as an essential item – and are likely to turn to better value alternatives, such as the Canaries, in the face of an economic downturn.
Certainly, the island maintained its growing popularity with Irish tourists. As visitor numbers from the Republic were up by 3.9% during the first two months of the year. And a resurgence of popularity in one of Lanzarote´s former traditional markets – Scandinavia – now seems on the cards. With visitor numbers from Norway and Sweden leaping by 31.1% and 61.7% respectively.
The only negative trend detected in the figures was a continued downturn in visitor numbers from Germany. Which is the second largest market place for holidays to Lanzarote.
However, the overall increase of 10.9% has gone a long way to offsetting this. And has also provided a real shot in the arm for tourist businesses across the island. Such as Lanzarote car hire companies, restaurants, bars and tourist attractions.
For example, the islands seven main tourist and cultural sites have all registered an increase in business. Recording an overall increase in admissions during January and February of 10.57%. With Lanzarote´s leading tourist attraction, the Timanfaya Volcano Park leading the way – with 59,851 visits. Followed closely by the Jameos del Agua in second spot, with 46,314 admissions.
Hopes that this upward trend remains positive seem realistic – as more budget flights to Lanzarote will also shortly come on stream as easyJet open their first direct route to the island from late March onwards.