British tourist visits to Lanzarote declined dramatically in December. According to new figures just released by AENA, the Spanish airport authority. Suggesting that the falling pound, failing airlines and waning consumer confidence is finally starting to bite into the overseas travel and property markets.
The UK has long been the most important market for Lanzarote´s tourist industry. Accounting for over 50% of all visits made by foreign nationals to the Island of Fire.
But whilst AENA´s figures show that British visitor numbers have actually increased during 2008, albeit by only 1.09%, they also reveal a dramatic drop last month. With tourist visits from the UK tumbling by 25.8%. Down from 74,167 arrivals in December 2007 to just 55,024 last month.
Overall, total foreign tourism fell by 21% during December. With Lanzarote welcoming nearly 30,000 fewer visitors during what is usually one of the busiest months of the year on the island. Down from 146,420 arrivals in 2007 to 116,850 last month.
And whilst the bulk of this fall can be accounted for by the decline in the UK significant falls have also been recorded in other key markets. With German visitor numbers declining by 12% in December versus 2007 figures. And Irish numbers also falling – down by 17% year on year.
The only positive news for the islands tourist industry comes from Scandinavia. Where Lanzarote is currently undergoing something of a renaissance. With visitor numbers from Norway up by 11.69% for the year, followed by Sweden (up 9%) and Finland (up 7.26%).
And some local companies are reporting increased demand during the busy booking period of January for hotels, villas and holiday apartments in Lanzarote. Making it impossible to predict whether the December declines will be replicated across the course of 2009.
However the AENA figures do not make happy reading for the many overseas owners of property in Lanzarote. As prices on the island continue to soften and more price reduced proptrymkes its way onto the books o local estate agents.