The South of Tenerife is on the way to recovery with 85% of hotel occupancy
The recently launched winter tourist season has taken off in the south of Tenerife where the streets are visibly busier, bars and restaurants are full to allowed capacity, and hotels are operating at 85% occupancy. However, after almost a blank year due to the pandemic, they are still concerned about the possible after effect of the increase in infections in Europe.
Ashotel, which shows great optimism and is thankful for the recovery of tourism, doesn’t want to raise any alarm bells and remains attentive to the upward evolution of the epidemiological data in the main European source markets (United Kingdom and Germany), as the current trend of visitors predicts levels similar to that registered in 2019, before COVID.
An example is the forecast by AENA for flights to the Tenerife South airport. Airlines have scheduled 6.4 million seats for the winter season (between November and March), which is 25% more than in 2019, and 25.6 million seats are available for the islands' airports as a whole, which is 20% more than two years ago.
The data from the Ministry of Tourism is heading in the same direction and, for now, it expects to close 2021 with more than six million visitors, which is a million more than their previous calculation, exceeding all expectations and endorsing the popularity of the islands across Europe.
The Archipelago is confident of recovering the bulk of its connectivity with 140 destinations from this month, and the south of Tenerife is forecast to be the biggest benefactor with an increase in numbers way higher than in other islands, something that only a new wave of contagions, and the consequent return to severe restrictions, could blur. Hence, the sector is advancing cautiously with well-tuned radars.
The ‘zero tourism’ that, a little more than a year ago, plunged the sector into an unprecedented blackout, now has more than 92% of hotels and apartment complexes back open and operating in the south of the Island, with 70,479 beds (out of 73,553) on the market and ready for arrivals. What's more, Ashotel's forecasts predict that 100% of beds will be available before the end of the year.
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The recent World Travel Market in London has instilled even more optimism among institutional and hotel representatives. As explained by the Minister of Tourism, Yaiza Castilla, the British market will register a growth of 12.5% for the winter months. A figure that, with the permission of COVID, could improve even more due to two factors: the cold winter that is beginning to hit the UK and, as tour operators point out, the desire to travel again of a large segment of the British population.
María Victoria López, president of the Fedola Group and vice president of Ashotel, confirmed that: "Almost all accommodation is open, but the main difference is that customers are staying longer and are consuming more outside the hotels compared to when they first reopened, there is more joy in the street," said the Tenerife businesswoman, who described the traditional high season as "interesting" and similar to that of 2019. "It will be a good winter if nothing serious happens," she stressed.
“The hotels have adapted to the current situation with restrictions that the guests respect, but we must all be very responsible to contain the contagions", said López. In her opinion, "the world has changed and so have tourists, a new way of travelling is being forged and companies are showing greater ability to adapt to new times."
The president of the business association in the South of Tenerife called FAST, José Fernando Cabrera, said "the expectations are promising and, if the current trend continues, we can achieve the results of two years ago." Of course, he demanded more health controls at the airports of the Islands, "so that everything does not come down to us", and said they are all aware that the statistics indicate that the number of infections is growing, especially in tourist areas.
"A new hit would make things very difficult and it would cost a lot to recover again, so we are very cautious," he warned and demanded the launch of a campaign aimed at promoting vaccination among the people most reluctant to receive their dose of immunization. “The vast majority of hospital admissions for COVID are people who have not been vaccinated. A great job has been done with 85% of the population, but the remaining 15% need to be on board for full recovery”.
Faced with the situation of the pandemic in the United Kingdom and Germany, the president of the Tenerife Cabildo, Pedro Martín, has asked that new coronavirus control measures be implemented, among which he highlighted the reinforcement of health controls at airports and tourist complexes. In that sense, he appealed to the good results of these measures adopted in previous waves of the virus. "We must all be aware of what is at stake, we are all responsible for our recovery, all of us" he insisted.