Positive tourism signs for El Hierro but “much work still to be done”
The island of El Hierro is experiencing positive tourism signs but more needs to be done now and for the future with occupancy rates lagging well behind the Canary average.
This is the view of its president, Belén Allende who recently held a meeting with representatives of the Hotel and Extra-Hotel Association of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Ashotel), the Association of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises El Hierro (APYME) and the Centre for Tourist Initiatives (CIT) to inform them of the latest economic data.
“We are certainly facing positive indicators, which give us strength and a necessary oxygen ball for the island economy, which endorse the recovery trend, although there are important aspects on which we must work to consolidate this,” she said.
” The past in terms of the occupancy rate and the average stay are both still far from the Canarian average.”
Thus, the number of passengers by air in 2016 increased by 6.63 per cent, the best result of the last four years, with a total of 156,439 in passenger traffic, clearly better than 2015 in which there was a fall of 1.23 per cent compared to 2014. The total number of operations was 3,665, up 1.4 per cent, according to official data from National Airports (AENA).
At the same time, the increase from Gran Canaria (20 per cent) stands out, as opposed to a more moderate growth of the traditional access road through Tenerife North (3%).
The number of passengers by sea increased significantly in El Hierro, in particular by 15.04 per cent compared to 2015, with a total of 124,892 passengers, according to the Tenerife Ports Authority.
At the same time, the number of cruise passengers reached a record figure of 9,605, almost four times more than in 2015 (4,000) and twice that of 2014, the year in which the best records were recorded.
With almost the same number of establishments and places offered in the last three years on the island, in 2016 the number of travellers hosted has risen to 20,837, 20 per cent mo-re than in 2015.
The gro-wing trend of foreign visitors (25 per cent of the total) is maintained and the previous levels are recovered with respect to Canary visitors.
Consistent with the previous data, the number of overnight stays, both for foreign and domestic residents, has increased significantly, reaching the best results of the last five years.
Occupancy rates stand at 36 per cent in apartments and 25 per cent in hotels.
“These are the best results in the last five years but it is an indicator in which we continue to contribute with low results, so it is an aspect that we must continue to work on as there is a wide margin until we approach the average of the Canaries of 80 per cent,” said Belén Allende.
On the other hand, compared to the eight days of the average stay in the Islands, the figure for El Hierro remains at about 3.8 days, with stays longer for foreigners (4.5 days) compared to national tourism (3.6 days) .
Overall, however, tourism revenue has increased by around eleven per cent.