Sunday, August 17, 2008

An eye to Russia

The tourist sector on the Costa Blanca has its sights set on the Russian market to boost flagging levels of income. Occupancy has fallen 5% and income 15% following the crisis that has hit Spain. Sixty thousand fewer Spanish tourist in the first seven months of the year have hit the tourist trade hard. The 20% devaluation of the pound against the euro hasn't helped either.

Two million Russians visit the Mediterranean each year but they currently favour Turkey followed by Egypt. Coatia and Italy. Those that visit Spain choose Catalonia. Fifteen years ago, Catalonia opened a tourist information office in Moscow which has obviously paid off. Now the tourist industry on the Costa Blanca want the Consell to do the same for them.

They also want to target Italian tourists. The Italians like fashionable resorts and currently favour Ibiza, Formentera, Croatia, Tunisia and the Caribbean. The industry wants them to find places like Benidorm equally chic.

The tourist industry is asking the Consell to advertise the theme parks in the area (Terra Mítica, Aqualandia and Terra Natura) more widely. These are major attractions that need promoting.

Of course, Valencia will benefit from the F1 race next weekend which it is estimated will bring in 70,000,000€ from the 140,000 visitors. Other sporting events like the Vuelta al Mundo de Vela and the Masters de Golf Costa Azahar de Castellón will inject much needed cash to the area in the same way that the America's Cup did in 2007.

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