Expectations that the credit crunch, weakening pound and diminishing disposable incomes have sounded the death knell for foreign holidays appear a little wide of the mark. As specific markets, such as Lanzarote in the Canary Islands are reporting a bumper increase in British visitor numbers for the first half of 2008.
According to research recently released by AENA, the Spanish airport authority, tourist visits from the UK have in fact increased by a whopping 15.6% during the first half of this year, in comparison with the same period in 2007. With the island welcoming 509,755 British guests up until the end of June2008.
And it´s not just the British who are refusing to give up their holidays in the sun. As Irish visitor numbers have increased too – with 123,047 tourists from Eire travelling to Lanzarote over the same period. A rise of 5.4% on 2007 figures – and an indication of the islands incredible popularity in the Republic, with Lanzarote attracting more Irish visitors annually than any other destination in Spain.
Other key markets, such as Holland, Austria, Norway and Sweden have also helped contribute to an overall increase in foreign visitor numbers of 5.6% during the first half of 2008. With Germany the only major market returning negative figures – down 13% to date on 2007.
The Canary Island Tourist Board has also recently reported that the number of Spanish nationals visiting Lanzarote is on the rise too. Up 3.7% during the first half of 2008.
Collectively, these figures represent the best first half annual performance that Lanzarote has enjoyed for many years – a trend which if continued will see the island break the one million British tourist visits barrier for the first time since 2003.
All of which makes happy reading for the owners of apartments and holiday villas in Lanzarote. Many thousands of British and Irish oveseas investors have taken the plunge into the Lanzarote property market over the last decade. Attracted by the fact that the islands year round clement climate creates twelve months worth of rental returns. A claim which no other European sun spots can really match.
In addition these owners will have enjoyed annual capital appreciation of around 9% per annum. Representing an attractive return on their initial investment. And with the Lanzarote tourist market remaining buoyant many owners of holiday accommodation on the island are reporting bumper bookings for the year ahead.
Much of Lanzarote´s attraction to British tourists lies in the fact that the island is only four hours flying time from the UK yet guarantees year round sunshine, even in the depths of a northern European winter. Making Lanzarote and the Canary Islands the only really viable short haul winter sun destination in Europe.
Holidays in Lanzarote also remain affordable in relation to other destinations. As it is still possible to find combined flight and accommodation deals to the island for around 300 pounds. And the cost of living on the island still compares very favourably to prices in the UK, despite the decline of sterling against the euro.