Update 19 February: The Cabildo has announced that Tenerife started the year with an increase of 3.7% on last January’s tourist numbers. After last year’s record-breaking figures, President Carlos Alonso said that figures were again up whichever data one looked at, and that January’s visitors boded well for 2014. Some 402,494 holidaymakers stayed in tourist accommodation here last month, both hotels, apartments and rural houses.
British and German visitors continue to be Tenerife’s two main markets, with Scandinavian visitor numbers increasing some 15%. Russian holidaymakers are the fourth major market. Also showing good growth, however, are the markets the tourist authorities are now giving paying attention, namely France, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria and eastern Europe. The only figures to decrease were the Dutch and Belgian markets.
Update 21 January 2014: I said below in my 23 December post that Turismo was jubilant that 2013 would pass into the record books for the number of visitors in a complete year – the current record was 10,210,000 in 2011. And, indeed, the Canaries did break the record, with 10.63 million visitors throughout last year, up 421,599 from 2011’s record. The good news was released today by the Ministerio de Industria, Energía y Turismo. The biggest markets continue to be Germany, the UK and the Scandinavian countries, but Russia and Italy are increasingly strong.
Update 26 December 2013: We now know that tourist numbers are up despite impressions of “it never being so quiet”. Now, another myth that “they” are all staying in all-inclusive accommodation and not going outside to spend is itself shattered with official figures showing not only that tourist spending is up, but that spending by tourists who are staying in hotels has risen the most.
Statistics from November show that foreign tourist spending here grew 10.1% throughout 2013 compared with 2012, giving a total spend of €10.5 billion, a figure that itself represents nearly a fifth of all tourist spending in Spain, putting the Canaries in third place after Catalonia and the Balearics. The figures have been produced by survey carried out by the Spain’s Ministerio de Industria, Energía y Turismo. In November specifically, thanks no doubt to our climate attracting winter sun visitors, that percentage shot up 23% to €1,262,000, 37.7% of the total national tourist spend.
How then to account for the “it’s never been so quiet” stories one hears, something that is particularly confusing given that the biggest proportion of spending is still being made by British tourists, just over 20% of the total spent here by foreign visitors (followed by the Germans, then the French, then the Scandinavians – surprisingly not the Russians … yet). I fail to see any alternative but to accept that the upmarket push is working, and that the spending is exactly where the Canarian Government wants it to be, in golf, spas, niche markets, and the like. What analysis of the released figures makes clear, in any case, is that spending grew most among those staying in hotels, a rise of 16.9%, so they are indeed “getting out and spending” … just not in the “traditional” places.
I think it is perhaps time that these figures, which are now repeatedly being replicated, are accepted for what they are, and that the changing face of tourism in the Canaries is recognized as a move not just towards different visitors, but different requirements from the customary major British market. Those establishments which “have never been so quiet” might have their core market, but this will not be enough to survive unless they adapt and evolve to meet the new reality.
Update 23 December: And still it continues. November’s figures have “shot up” by 17.9% compared with the same period last year, and have broken all records. November 2013 has the best figures for November that have ever been recorded for this time of year, with 1,073,759 tourists, says the Ministerio de Industria y Turismo. Not only that, but this year’s figures taken together show a new “historic maximum”, with 9,591,419 visitors to the end of November, up 4% from last year. Turismo is jubilant that this year will pass into the record books in both these respects, and said that when figures for the whole of 2013 are released at the end of this month, it expects that another record will be broken in the number of visitors in a complete year – the current record is 10,210,000 in 2011. Good news for us all, and long may it continue!
Update 27 September: The good news continues, and in a way that makes it clear that something positive is really happening. Last month, it seems, was the best August in tourism records, and not just that, but the month also closed with record tourist spending in the Canaries, some €1,002m, up 6.8% from August last year. So far in 2013, tourists have spent €7,241m, a rise of 7.6% on the corresponding period of 2012. The figures have come from the national Ministerio de Industria, Energía y Turismo. According to the statistics, the UK and Germany led the main tourist drive in August, with the British actually increasing their spending, up 5.1% from last year, while the German spend dropped 11.9%.
Update 22 August: Spanish tourism figures show that there were 34m visitors to the country up to and including July this year, a rise of 3.9% from 2012, and a new record for the country. The figures come from analysis by Frontur (Movimientos Turísticos en Fronteras), of the Ministerio de Industria, Energía y Turismo. In July alone there were 7.8m tourists, a rise itself of 2.9% on July 2012. The Scandinavian countries, together with the UK and Russia have led the surge, with German and French numbers holding up too. The good news for the Canaries is that it is the third most successful autonomous region of Spain, with 5.8m tourists, 17.2% of the national total, coming behind only Catalonia and the Balearics.
Update 22 July: There’s further confirmation that Tenerife has fewer but wealthier visitors and the Government’s policy could be working. This time, too, it’s confirmation not from the Government but from the Tenerife Cabildo, whose statistics show that in the first half of 2013 there was a drop of 1% in tourists visiting the island, but a rise of 9.5% in terms of occupancy for 5* hotels. Cabildo vice President and tourism minister (and future President of Tenerife) Carlos Alonso said that the luxury hotels were increasingly capturing the market, and that analysis of the figures showed that weakened demand – particularly among Spanish, German and French holidaymakers – is in the lower end of the market. There are detailed reports HERE for those who’d like to see the number crunching.
Update 27 June: Well, could it be that they’re right after all? The Government has long said that part of its plan for “upmarket quality tourism” is several fold. To get rid of the cheap and shabby image created by the likes of the Tenerife Uncovered television programmes, to tend towards and generate new luxury and niche products, and to have fewer tourists – but “better quality and wealthier” ones who spent more.
The idea that lower tourist numbers could equate with higher tourist spending was met with pretty widespread scepticism, but the first five months of this year do seem to offer support because latest official figures show the Canaries leading Spain in the average tourist spend, with international tourists bringing €4,644,000 to these islands, 8% up on last year. What’s more, specific figures for the Canaries show a rise on 2012, with an average daily spend of €111, a rise of 6.4% compared to 2012 – and British tourists are leading the spend.
So, the first five months saw fewer tourists but more income, and as I posted below, May itself was a superb month, the best May for ten years, but with the same general tendency to stay in better quality all-inclusive and 5* hotels. The message conveyed by what has been seen as a high-risk rebranding exercise might actually be getting out there: we are a quality destination for upmarket and wealthy tourists who have space to move … and to spend.
Original post 21 June: Turismo is understandably jubilant with figures that show 690,485 visitors came to these islands in May, a rise of 8.5 % compared to May 2012, and the best May in the last ten years – one has to go back to May 2003, when 690,971 holidaymakers arrived, to beat last month’s figures. The best May in the record books was in 2001, with 706,084. Equally happily, British tourists represented a large part of the increase, rising 10.5%. Long may this continue!