Andalucía's tourism industry has seen record figures between June and September this year, beating for the first time the 25 million overnight stays with 25.2 million, a 1.6% increase. Tourist destinations in Andalucía have seen 7.8 million visitors in total, a 2% rise. The Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) revealed that September this year was the best in history, better than August 2009 and 2010.
Andalucía tourism minister, Francisco Javier Fernández, explained at a presentation this week that the rate of employment in tourist industries grew by 5% last month. “This figure means that employment is not threatened outside of high season. Now we are going to make an effort to ensure that this keeps going in October and November, up until the Christmas season”, he declared.
The minister mentioned that despite the 7% rise in international tourists, Andalucía has lost 4.3% of its Spanish tourists. “We need to make more effort in the national market, because these are essential clients”, he explained. On this topic, he said that “we cannot ignore the national market, which makes up 60% of visitors. These tourists prefer other types of holiday and shorter trips. We are going to make some structural changes based on this. We cannot lose sight of the national tourists, because they are our best clients, the most loyal, and they have saved us more than once”.
When speaking about the impact of hotel prices on this market, he explained “there isn't a direct relationship between the increase of prices and the decrease in Spanish tourists. Andalucía has never been a place that people visit for the price, but for the relationship between quality and price. It has more to do with the emergence of new types of accommodation, like private-home lets, of which there are more than 17,000 in the province. Spanish people take advantage of the many rooms available”.
Per province, only Malaga failed to increase the number of stays during the summer, with a decrease of 0.8% between June and September, compared to last year. Fernández highlighted this figure as Malaga is a place with huge turnover, with 38% of holidays in the region.
On the other hand, this highlights the strength of Malaga's previous tourist growth, and the figures demonstrate that the strategies to evenly spread tourism across the province and measures against seasonality to avoid geographical and temporal saturation are working.