At the International Tourism Fair (FITUR) held in Madrid earlier this year, Ian Doubtfire, Managing Director of Jet2, announced the low-cost airline’s plans to hugely increase the numbers of seats available between UK and Spain during 2013 and 2014. As early as this summer, 25 per cent more seats will be available on flights between Málaga and the eight British airports from which Jet2 operates (Manchester, Belfast, Glasgow, Blackpool, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds-Bradford and East Midlands) but in an effort to capitalise on Spain’s healthy winter sun tourism figures, the airline also intends to increase the numbers of seats during the low season by 65 per cent from winter 2013-2014. Doubtfire justified Jet2’s expansion plans confirming that “Spain is still a very comfortable destination for British tourists, who may try other countries but always end up coming back,” reasoning that they choose Spain because of its favourable climate, reasonable flight prices and resort safety.
This is great news for Marbella and the whole of the Costa del Sol, and comes directly after publication of the 2013 Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer, which confirmed Spain as the Brits’ number one best value European holiday destination. Comparing the costs of a typical holiday maker’s essential shopping basket (water, beer, wine, soft drink, suntan lotion, cigarettes and a three course evening meal) from 42 resorts all around the world, the report concluded that on the Costa del Sol there had been a 36 per cent year on year decrease in prices, and a fall of 50 per cent based on prices five years ago. In the UK, Direct Holidays (also known as Thomas Cook) reported that Spain was their most popular holiday destination in 2012, with most travellers heading to the Costa del Sol region. During the first half of 2012, Spain received around 20 million foreign visitors from all over Europe and further afield with significant increases in numbers of those travelling from Germany, the United States and Latin America. Second home owners planning to rent out their Spanish properties to tourists will be thrilled to learn also that new surveys have indicated tourists are continuing to move away from package holidays, choosing instead to make their own independent arrangements. Particularly for families, the flexibility of renting an apartment or villa can make for a far more enjoyable holiday than having to ensure the children adhere to a hotel restaurant’s timetable! Already in 2011 nearly 80 per cent of British travellers to Spain were opting away from package holidays, creating their own bespoke trips. This upwards trend towards independent travel combined with increasing numbers of tourists being able to fly over from countries like the UK, thanks to more low-cost flights being made available, looks set to result in an exciting year for tourism on the Costa del Sol in 2013.