Spanish tourist association Exceltur warned many travellers will be prioritising other expenses this summer, with some even cancelling their holidays, due to the rising cost following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Vice president of Exceltur, José Luis Zoreda, said: “Making estimates right now is frivolous, but what is clear is that the war in Ukraine is going to harm us.
“Until the outbreak of the war, reserves were already at the level of 2019, but today, although the balance is still positive, it is true that reserves are slowing down and it is being noticed.”
Zoreda fears Britons will be prioritising other expenses this year, such as electricity, gas and food bills, and predicts many will postpone their long-awaited holidays in Spain.
He stressed this is not currently happening and “the British continue to come to the Canary Islands normally”, but “the general picture is that the rate of reservations is much more attenuated than 15 days ago”, he warned.
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Before the Covid pandemic, Britons were the main group of tourists in Spain with an average of 18 million UK holidaymakers visiting the country annually.
Express.co.uk exclusively talked to the General Director of Tourism of the Marbella City Council, Laura de Arce, about how the increase in prices will be affecting British holidaymakers and the Costa del Sol region, in the south of Spain, this summer.
She said: “The increase in prices that we are seeing at the moment is affecting everyone.
“However, it is true that the British tourist who visits Marbella often has higher spending power, so, although they will also suffer the increase in prices, they will not suffer in the same way,” she explained.
Laura said they “want to be optimistic and think that by the summer the situation will have improved”.
“It has been two years already with many restrictions in the United Kingdom and we are sure that we will be able to count on them to a greater or lesser extent.
“We are confident that this summer will be quite good, as long as the levels of the pandemic continue as they currently are and the armed conflict has ended,” she explained.
When asked if the lack of British tourists is a cause for concern and if she is worried about the issue, the General Director of Tourism said: “Of course,” and added that “this market [British] is key for Marbella”.
The mayor of Marbella, Ángeles Muñoz, urged Britons to come back and visit Spain this summer as they are “essential” for the country.
She said: “To reach the occupation rates we had in 2019, it is vital that the British come back.
“This year British tourists will be able to travel without restrictions so we are confident this will help us to make up for any lack of tourism from other markets.
“The British tourists, along with the national tourists, are our main visitors and we are confident that this summer will be incredibly successful.
“So from here I encourage Britons to come as soon as possible to enjoy all the good things that Marbella offers.
“We are waiting for you with open arms and with all the health safety measures that we have been implementing in recent times.
“Marbella is more beautiful than ever!” she said.