Although there are still three months remaining of 2014, it seems that tourist visitor numbers to the Canary Islands and Lanzarote in particular are set to exceed figures for the last few years. With the most easterly island in the archipelago already having received more than 1.5 million tourists between January and September this year.
Much of this growth is down to rapid expansion in new markets, such as Finland, Poland and France. Countries which in the past have contributed only a tiny proportion of the annual total of holidaymakers. Some of these gains will be attributable to the addition of new routes by budget airlines such as Ryanair.
Other reasons why the islands are enjoying such a resurgence probably owe more to their relative isolation from other parts of Europe, Africa and beyond, with their physical location in the Atlantic providing the perfect barrier to socio-political difficulties that are currently hampering countries such as Egypt and Turkey. Recent negative publicity regarding poor hotel hygiene in resorts in Bulgaria will do little to boost tourism in Eastern Europe as well.
Poland’s sudden emergence as a growing tourist market may owe much to the fortunes of its residents having improved so much during the last fifteen years. Since freedom of movement within the EU was introduced for many Baltic States in 2004, Polish workers have found their way to many European countries where pay is significantly better than at home. With the result that a decade later, there is clearly a strong demand for foreign holidays in warmer climes.
And while the figures themselves are still comparatively low, with only 22,826 Polish visitors so far this year, the increase represents growth of nearly 42% (41.97%) compared with 2013. The quantity of French visitors is far greater, with over 63,000 holidaymakers arriving on the island from France. Statistically, this is an increase of 67.2%, with the annual total for 2013 of 58,864 already well exceeded.
Amongst the Finns, although only 12,740 have so far flown over for a holiday on Lanzarote, this total represents a healthy rise of 85.5%, meaning that they may be on course to try and catch up with their Scandinavian neighbours in Norway and Sweden who already have a long history of choosing to holiday in the Canary Islands.
The perennially strong British market also shows no signs of slowing down, with 852,119 tourists arriving from the UK during the first nine months of the year, which is only 107,000 less than the total for 2013. This rise is probably more a reflection of economic improvements, allowing greater numbers of people to take a holiday again after several years of austerity.