Andalucia UK visitor numbers drop 18%

Andalucia has seen an 18% drop in British visitor numbers for the first quarter of this year, as the pound struggles against the euro.

Speaking at the Loving Andalucia British Tourist Trade Forum, currently taking place in Malaga, Spanish Tourist Board director Ignacio Vasallo said the region, which includes the Costa De Sol, has welcomed 428,521 Brits.

The fall is just slightly higher than the overall drop in UK visitor numbers of 17.7% to Spain, which received a total of 15.7 million visitors in 2008.

Vasallo said: “Customers are just buying 10 or 11 nights [in Spanish hotels]. Seven-night stays are also becoming more and more popular.”

He added the fall in numbers has been largely blamed on the pound’s fall against the euro, leaving many British holidaymakers believing the destination is now too expensive.

Vasallo said: “This is something we have to take very seriously as perception is reality.”

He said the tourist board was planning on addressing the drop with advertising campaigns in both the autumn and at the end of the year.

Vasallo said UK package sales to the country have also fallen by 11%, but added that the low-cost airline market is bucking the trend. Malaga airport has reported an 11.6% increase in aircraft seats from the UK to 3.8 million. He said Malaga airport is now served by 22 UK airports.

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