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Brits after Brexit: hoteliers want more investment 

Tenerife celebrates a record but UK is still a worry

Hotel leaders have called for more investment in the infrastructure of ever-popular Tenerife as concerns grow over the possible impact of Brexit on the Canary Islands.

Tourism from the United Kingdom accounts for 33 per cent of total visitors to the archipelago, reaching 44.7 per cent in Lanzarote and 35 per in Tenerife. Brits also account for a third of total tourism expenditure.

Following the recent years of the tourism boom, now deflated as competing markets bounce back, the Canaries have been leaking holidaymakers like other parts of Spain though Tenerife is still in a strong position, having closed last year with a record 5.8 million visitors, up 1.7 per cent.

Figures for 2018 show just over 15.5 million visitors arrived in the Canary Islands by plane, 417,610 less than in the previous year. The British market, in particular, has been cut by around 265,000 customers (five per cent less). However, on the plus side, domestic tourism is booming with the Canaries placed as the third Spanish destination for foreign tourists in 2018, second only to Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.

Despite fears about the British market after Brexit, the hotel employers association Ashotel believes Brits will still come to Tenerife come what may but has stressed more work needs to be done on connectivity and air routes.

But it is investment in infrastructure which is also imperative, with the group’s president Jorge Marichal saying: “The British will continue coming to the island; our effort should focus on continuing to increase the added value of our tourism product .”

Adding that “even the British don’t know what will happen”, Sr. Marichal said: “We must focus all efforts to add value to our tourism product, to continue renovating our establishments, to make a good promotion.”

He said public investment was vital and whilst there had been improvements in some locations “there are other very important areas, such as Arona, which have not had it, so many investments have been stopped.”

The president of the Te-nerife hotel management recalled that, for example, in Tenerife some 20 million have been invested in public infrastructure, a figure that compared with the private investment of a comprehensive renovation of a hotel establishment in Puerto de la Cruz of about 180 rooms for around 12 million euros.

“I think we should start changing the chip; because if we add the items allocated by municipalities, councils and Canary Government , 20 million is very little compared to the resources that detract from this tourist accommodation activity,” he explained.

President of Tenerife Cabildo, Carlos Alonso says great advances have been made in improving infrastructures and quality but acknowledged that “not everything is wonderful”, since for the future “there are uncertainties both for the behaviour of competing markets such as Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt, and for the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union.”