Holiday destination Spain celebrated a good 2007 with islands like Menorca and Majorca doing well too - but all is not well in the Canary Islands it would appear from recently announced official vacation arrival figures.
The Spanish tourism government department has confirmed that the Canary Islands of Tenerife and Lanzarote were the only areas of Spain to see a drop in tourist numbers in 2007.
While Spain overall enjoyed a near 2 per cent boost in visitor numbers, the Canary Islands had nearly quarter a million fewer tourists compared to the year before. While not disputing the figures, one tourism boss on Gran Canaria claims that the fall holiday period could have seen an increase in 2007 compared to 2006.
Different regions of Spain are trying to stand out to tourists by being unique. Data recently released from the Costa del Sol Tourism Observatory indicates that tourist spending over the past year increased by a notable six per cent, showing that the hospitality industry in Costa del Sol is thriving. The Costa del Sol hopes to keep its tourist trade alive and well and spur the tradition of competition with its well known neighbour the Costa Blanca by creating a national symbol that will become synonymous with the region - much like the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, Big Ben in London or the Statue of Liberty is to New York.
Currently tourist officials are leaning toward the idea of a similar edifice and is in the process of inviting bids and design plans from several multinational companies. It appears that the Costa del Sol may be looking for an attraction that will give it a permanent edge over the Costa Blanca when it comes to tourist numbers.
But the Canaries have an advantage over mainland Spain, and for that matter her competitor Spanish islands of Menorca and Majorca - and that's the weather which many tourists find gorgeous all year round.
This year could see a real turnaround for the Canary Islands as her biggest market, the UK, has seen record numbers of tourists fly abroad for the Christmas and New Year holidays, with January to March tourism strong too. With both Lanzarote and Tenerife enjoying temperatures in the 70's, some fifteen degrees warmer than Majorca and the Costa del Sol - both islands have made a good start for 2008.
Tenerife is known in the UK for her fabulous winter weather and attracts over three and a half millions tourists a year. While most of Tenerife's tourism comes from the United Kingdom, others visit from Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Ireland and France, among many others.
The island is home to many beautiful resorts, including the Playas de las Americas and Los Cristianos. In fact, recent legislation was passed to ensure that any future resort construction must either be of five-star status or offer resort luxuries like golf courses or banquet facilities.
Tenerife's Costa Adeje, the area that includes Las Americas and Los Cristianos, offers visitors opportunities for both recreation and sightseeing. Outstanding shopping, 9 golf courses, fine dining, water parks, zoos, and a magnificent theatre that often features great musicals and of course the natural beauty of sun and sand on Tenerife's gorgeous beaches are all attractions that attract the British tourist.
Close neighbour Lanzarote, the fourth largest of the Canary Islands, is hoping for a boost this year as well.
Lanzarote is quieter than Tenerife, and tends to attract holiday makers who stay in villas, but there are a good number of hotels too.
Lanzarote is well known for her picturesque volcanic landscapes. It is perhaps also just as well known for its futuristic appearance and controlled development of wildlife and plant life.
Lanzarote is home to more than a hundred thousand full time residents and has its own international airport. The island relies on tourism as well as agriculture to maintain its economy. Millions of visitors each year enjoy the black sand beaches and unique experience that only Lanzarote can offer.
Both Tenerife and Lanzarote will be hoping that British and European tourists remember past trips and return again this year to boost their holiday markets after a surprisngly disappointing year last year.
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