FEWER UK tourists are expected to visit Alicante province this summer compared to the record-breaking 2019 season because there are not enough flights.
Costa Blanca Tourist Board manager, Jose Mancebo, said that overall forecasts showed the area surpassing 2019’s pre-pandemic visitor numbers but he expects fewer Brits than four years ago.
He said this was nothing to do with reduced interest from the UK market- which still dominates foreign visitor tallies- but rather it was down to high season flight schedules being compiled well in advance.
“The summer season was planned a year ago which means there was a certain amount of conservatism in the number of flights that were scheduled,” said Mancebo.
Seat offerings during the high season from the UK into Alicante-Elche airport suggest a 9% fall on 2019 numbers, accounting for around 200,000 passengers but around two million Brits are still expected to fly in.
“The demand is still there but the UK market share used to be so high, that it will take a while to recover all of it,” added Mancebo.
There have been significant variations in offerings from UK airports this year, so for example Manchester is putting on an extra 47,000 seats but there are 67,000 fewer out of London-Gatwick.
Mancebo said that a lot of work has been done to extend the season throughout last autumn and that visitor numbers for the first few months of this year ‘have been very good’.
Benidorm-based hotel association Hosbec said there was a fall in the British market in early spring, but has recovered well in May, with UK bookings in recent weeks accounting for 50% of the resort’s hotel occupancy.