MOST travel reports do mention that the forward bookings for this summer’s holidays show an aversion to Europe with one exception, Spain.
To date the majority are planning not to spend their summer holiday within Europe. Spain is however holding on and remains a favoured destination for the British family. Many other destinations have become popular and ever more accessible as global airlines cut costs and direct flights from point to point across the globe become ever more common.
Vietnam as well as the Seychelles not only Thailand and India are very much on the radar of the British holiday traveller. Of course for backpackers Australia and New Zealand are a tremendous draw. Then there is the USA, a huge space with a vast array of cultures and foods to explore. Not just the Grand Canyon but also Yellowstone Park, if nature rather than the city is your thing these parks are vast playgrounds. For the older British traveller the Caribbean is a honey pot with year round appeal even during the annual hurricane season British holiday makers looking for an escape from the gloom of the north head for the islands.
Spain has continued to improve its own appeal to the visitor with a greater emphasis on the appeal of Spanish culture and history rather than just sangria and discos. Water parks and swimming pools as well as reliable weather have a tremendous appeal for British families. Though the weather this Easter was a little disappointing! London was warmer and sunnier than the Costa. Intensely annoying to British visitors to the Costa as they checked on the tribulations of the weather at home to discover that these Sceptred Islands were basking in warm sunshine, while the gloom was hovering over the swimming pool of their Spanish hotel. On the other hand those of us who remained in Britain for Easter were smugly enjoying our compatriots discomfort and literally heading for the English beaches.
As no doubt many of you have noted footballers and football fans are planning their visit to Spain for a match in Madrid on the 1 June. Both clubs are from the English Premier League. The difference in travel connectivity, hotels and other crucial amenities between Madrid and Baku is already very much an issue of discussion. Another English Premier League football club has an interest in a Final that is scheduled for the fair city of Baku. Baku Azerbaijan is a long way from Britain. Some travel experts have suggested that the easiest and quickest road to Baku for the match is a route that takes the football fan via Baghdad. Though some say it would be quicker to travel via Istanbul or Moscow. What these discussions and examination of schedules has highlighted is the excellent travel infrastructure of Spain in comparison.
As the count down for the summer holidays continue decisions have to be made. Just as the football fan is plotting the many roads to Madrid so Britain will be considering where they will spending their hard earned summer holidays. It seems to me that Spain has an opportunity to entertain a football fiesta and present to the British a welcome that will encourage the rest of us to spend part of our summer in sunny Spain.
Nick Horne, London, England