In the year 2009 the recession-driven reluctance of many UK residents to travel overseas hit Spain hard. Holiday visits to the country originating from these shores fell by over 1.5 million year-on-year. However it remained our favourite destination for breaks, with independent travel continuing to increase as a proportion of all holiday journeys.
As befitting a country where tourism contributes so much to GDP, Spain has responded to the drop in travellers by increasing investment and launching initiatives to attract tourists. Discounting has been much in evidence, and recent research showed that the country offers better value for money than competing eurozone destinations. In addition, Spain is focusing on diversifying its appeal, hoping to increase desirability to mass and niche markets alike.
This report examines how best Spain’s enduring appeal and new approaches can be best utilised to convince those holidaymakers that stayed away during 2009 to return. It looks at consumer trends, innovations of relevance, the market environment, the country’s competition and includes exclusive consumer research on the frequency of, future intentions towards and attitudes regarding holidaying in Spain.
What was the impact of the recession on holidays to Spain, and how has the country responded? What are the indications for 2010 and beyond?
How has the independent vs package mix developed?
How has Spain fared in relation to competing countries, and which regions/destinations of Spain have become less/more popular?
What developments have occurred in regard to booking Spanish holidays? Is the internet still in the ascendancy? Has the use of Travel Agents rebounded?
Who are the key consumers, and what do future demographic trends indicate for the prospects of UK holidays to Spain?
How do people travel to Spain, and are they interested in other modes?
Are exchange rates continuing to have a negative impact on Spanish holidays? How does Spain measure up in value for money terms?
Holidays to Spain are defined as trips involving an overnight stay by a UK citizen. They include direct arrivals from the UK and those who stay as part of an itinerary travelling through Europe.
An adult, for the purposes of Mintel's research, is anyone aged 16 or over.
The standard travel and tourism definitions used in the terminology of this report are as follows:
- tourism is any travel, which involves an overnight stay away from home.
- a holiday is a subjectively defined form of tourism, as defined by the tourist in response to surveys such as IPS or BNTS. A holiday can be distinguished from other leisure travel such as visits to friends and relatives (VFR) or shopping trips.
- a long holiday is a holiday of four nights or more away from home; a short break is a holiday that involves one to three nights away from home.
- short-haul refers to air holidays within Europe, dominated by flights to Mediterranean resorts but including the Canary Islands, which are treated as a part of the Spanish market. Long-haul, therefore, refers to holidays outside Europe.
- an inclusive tour, or package holiday, is defined as the simultaneous sale of at least two elements of a holiday to the traveller: fares on public transport (eg flights) and commercial accommodation (eg hotel or self-catering apartment). Other elements, such as meals or excursions, are not essential to the definition of an inclusive tour. The term ‘all-inclusive’ is used to describe a special type of resort holiday in which food, drink, excursions and other services are provided as part of the total holiday cost.
- an independent holiday is one in which the traveller organises and books transport and accommodation from separate sources (eg a Channel ferry crossing and a caravan site in France).
- Seat- or flight-only is a type of independent holiday, and the terms are used to denote holidays in which travellers only purchase a return fare and thereafter book their own accommodation, car hire etc.
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In addition to quantitative consumer research, Mintel also conducted an online discussion group among a demographically mixed group of around 15 consumers.
This discussion group was asynchronous (ie not run in real time), functioning like a blog or bulletin board, with questions remaining posted for a pre-determined period of time. This method allows participants to respond reflectively, at their leisure, or to log off to think about any issues raised, and return later to respond.
Participants were recruited from Toluna’s online consumer panel.