For Spain which relies heavily on tourism to fuel its economic growth, the country's travel sector has to keep up with the emerging trends. Visitor profiles, their spending behavior, the things that interest them, facilities they require and how to ensure that they return are some of the areas that need attention.
Informed traveler: Today's visitors are aware and informed. They rely not only on travel agents/brochures/promotions but they do independent research, rely on social networking sites, blogs, etc and gather information before they book a holiday. They're also smart enough to get the best deals, discounts, cheaper flights and are demanding about facilities, features, hygiene and safety. With increasing consumer protection, average travelers tend to know their rights and will ensure that they get the maximum value for their money.
Technology driven: Most international travelers to Spain use technology to maximum advantage: they book flights, accommodation and car-hire on-line, and the Internet is now the preferred medium of booking holidays with more than 50% of travelers world-wide preferring to go on-line rather than to the conventional travel-agency.
Visitor profile: A huge number of travelers to Spain are older with the 55+ age-group emerging as the biggest one, followed closely by the 35-45 age group is also traveling much more than they used to. The interesting feature is that those traveling to Spain purely on holiday have increased over the last couple of years and they're not merely here on business. This means that vacation rentals, tourist spots, guides, food and beverage sector, arts, entertainment and culture sectors are high-focus areas. Sports both land and water, adventure, culinary and wine, eco-tours, literary etc are other such niche tourist preferences. Medical tourism is also emerging in the country. Another trend is that tourists are making shorter but more frequent trips to the country and there is a higher average spending pattern. Apart from Europe, Asia and South America are other countries from where tourists arrive in Spain.
Preferences: Travelers today want exclusive and unique travel experiences. Spain with its rich ethnic, cultural and artistic traditions is focusing more on regional cuisines, festivals and cultural features. Cruises are another big draw – with nearly 5000 km of fabulous coastline and charming harbors, busy ports and marinas lining it, visitors are increasingly using the sea-routes, especially to the Costas, Balearics and Canaries. Adventure travel is another popular choice, with more high-income, older travelers opting for it. People with disabilities and restricted mobility are also traveling much more to Spain.
Finally, it's important to remember that almost every traveler today returns and posts their experiences on blogs, forums, networking sites, social media etc and these are in turn used by potential visitors to gather information. Hence, providing delight, safety, hygiene, security and a rich travel experience in Spain is essential.
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