Spain enjoys record year for tourism

Spain enjoyed a record year for tourism in 2016, with 161.7 million international travellers passing through the country’s airports, according to the latest figures from Aena.

In particular, Alicante-Elche airport in the popular south-east of the country recorded a historic high in 2016, handling 12.3 million passengers, an increase of 1.7 million passengers in a single year. Interestingly, almost half (42 per cent) of the passengers through Alicante-Elche were from the UK, indicating that Costa Blanca’s appeal for British tourists remains strong, despite the weakening pound in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Indeed, even in the face of Brexit, the outlook remains bright, with budget airline Jet2 announcing that between April and November this year, they will increase flights by 40 per cent from 9 destinations in the UK including London-Stansted, Edinburgh and Leeds to Alicante-Elche airport, reaching a peak of 93 flights per week in high season.

“Living here in Spain and travelling frequently myself both for work and pleasure, you can just see that the airports are busier,” says Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director for Taylor Wimpey España. “More flights, especially from the UK and Northern Europe, bigger aircraft and higher passenger numbers are being witnessed which, in my opinion, is a very positive indicator of the health of the country’s tourism sector.”

The latest INE figures confirm Spain’s worldwide appeal, with 75.6 million tourists visiting the country, 10.3 per cent up on 2015 and the best year on record.

The ongoing strength of Spain’s tourism sector echoes the positive picture being painted by the housing market’s recovery, with Taylor Wimpey España seeing an order book increase of 8.5 per cent year-on-year, and and completions up 21% on 2015 figures. The latest airport and tourism figures, combined with sentiment here on the ground means that our outlook for 2017 is positive, especially for the Costa Blanca, despite wider macroeconomic uncertainty created by the EU referendum result.”