BRITISH tourist numbers to the Valencian Community are continuing to recover to pre-pandemic levels, said Valencian president Carlos Mazon on the first day of London’s World Travel Market.
Between January and August of this year, 1.7 million British people visited the Valencian Community- 16.2% more than in the same period of the previous year.
The all-time peak was before the pandemic in 2019 with 2.8 million UK arrivals.
The Valencia region has taken a 286 m2 stand at the ExCel featuring local companies and seven municipalities, and Mazon said that it has booked double the space for next year’s event to promote the area to the UK travel industry.
He also said that procedures were ‘well advanced’ to ensure that a tourist tax introduced by the previous regional government will never be enforced.
“We want to avoid any spoke in the wheel that hinders competitiveness to the Valencian Community and promote the area with no threat of the tourist tax,” said Mazon
“Administrative procedures are very very advanced to send the message that any ideological tourist tax that separated us from the rest of the tourist market, especially the British market is over,” he added.
The tax would have been levied on all types of accommodation but it would have been down to individual municipalities to decide whether they wanted to charge it- none have.
Over the popularity of the area for British visitors, the Minister of Tourism, Nuria Montes, said that Brits account for 25.5% of the total number of foreign tourists and that out of the British figure, 88% stay in Alicante province- 53% of which go to Benidorm.
She said her plans included trying to deseasonalise tourism and to ‘open the destination with a high winter season, like the Canary Islands do’.
Montes pointed out the good air connections between the region and UK with special emphasis on Alicante-Elche airport with 21 routes.
“More than Madrid,” she stressed.
The Valencian government has launched a promotional campaign costing nearly €1 million with adverts on UK buses and taxis that will run until next May.
“The connectivity, resilience and favourable evolution of the market after the pandemic, together with the good pace of bookings and the differential inflation between the two countries, allow us to predict more visitors to the region in 2024,” Montes predicted.