Agents claim Benidorm remains a firm favourite despite reports it is being abandoned by British holidaymakers.
A report in The Sun newspaper dubbed the resort ‘Benidoom’ with the Spanish economy in freefall and many bars and restaurants shut.
Agents blamed the rise in sales of all-inclusive holidays for much of the slump in local trade and said the destination, which attracts 1.5 million Brits a year, was still extremely popular.
Chetan Patel, director of A1travel, Essex, said Benidorm was the agency’s fourth most-popular destination. “It’s 10% to 15% cheaper to fly to Spain than last year and the euro exchange rate is favourable. Flight prices to Turkey have risen and people have shied away from Egypt.”
Wales-based Regal Travel reported January to June sales of seven-night holidays to Benidorm were down 40% year on year. General manager Helen Tustin blamed reduced capacity out of Cardiff and families staying in the UK but said: “Clients still want to go.”
She said all-inclusive sales could be a factor for tourist businesses in Benidorm, adding: “My clients like full board, but are happy to go to local bars for their drinks."
Institute of Travel and Tourism chairman Steven Freudmann said: “The boom in all-inclusive holiday sales doesn’t help local bars and restaurants but is a sign of a recession. There are some run-down areas and tired-looking hotels.”
He claimed the institute’s conference in Benidorm two years ago was one of its best-ever. “We would seriously consider going back.”
The Hotel Association for Benidorm and the Costa Blanca said hotel bookings for June 2012 were up 2% on last year and up 14% for all-inclusive properties.
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