European holidaymakers could turn to destinations such as Bulgaria and Cape Verde if they want to avoid high prices in busy Spanish destinations, the chief executive of European tourism group Tui said.
Tourists have been flooding into Spain over the last two years due to security concerns around rival summer destinations such as Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey. Visitors to Spain jumped 12% in the first half of 2017 to 36.4 million.
Reports have also circulated in the past that chronic overcrowding in some of Europe’s most beloved tourism hotspots is fuelling a backlash by locals against visitors.
“Spain is pretty full,” Friedrich Joussen said after Tui – known as Thomson in the UK – reported third-quarter results. “Last year we had an all-time high and this year we will be on similar levels.”
Joussen said most people in Spain were happy with tourists because they help provide jobs and support the economy. But with prices for Spain rising due to high demand, other more affordable destinations could come into play.
The higher prices could be a factor in particular for British customers, with the cost of their holidays rising due to the weak pound following the Brexit vote.
“Initially we saw some weakening demand, but it’s now resilient so people are getting used to higher prices,” Joussen said of UK customers.
He said Tui would probably not reduce capacity for Turkey next year because demand was coming back. And he said the group would look at adding Tunisia back into its programme but no decision had yet been taken.
Rival Thomas Cook is planning to restart holidays to Tunisia after the Foreign Office altered its travel advice but said it would take time to set up.