‘Be careful what you wish for’: Jet2 CEO warns Ibiza and Majorca Brit holidaymakers will turn to cheaper Greece and Turkey if their politicians give the impression they are unwanted
Holiday boss Steve Heapy has offered some words of warning to the travel destinations looking to attract ‘higher-quality’ German tourists – and repel the Brits.
Speaking at a conference in Mallorca last week, Jet2 CEO Mr Heapy said he doesn’t agree with limiting tourists and said British travellers would head for cheaper countries, like Greece and Turkey, rather than Spanish locations such as Ibiza.
Lanzarote President Maria Dolores Corju said recently that the German market was better suited to the holiday hotspot’s ‘higher-quality’ tourism intentions.
In what appeared to be a slight against British tourists, she said the island had reached its ‘tourist capacity’ and needed to turn against ‘mass tourism’.
But she walked back the statement days later, saying it was ‘categorically false’ that Canary Island doesn’t want British tourists.
Mr Heapy (pictured) said politicians in the Baleriacs and Spain should be very careful about sending out the message that they’ve got ‘too many tourists’
Lanzarote President Maria Dolores Corju has said the island’s goal is to attract ‘higher-quality’ tourism
Mr Heapy said politicians in the Balearic islands, Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza, and in other Spanish destinations should be very careful about sending out the message that they’ve got ‘too many tourists’.
‘Be careful what you wish for. If you give the impression that you don’t want tourists, they will end up going elsewhere.’
He added that British tourists are eyeing up Greece and Turkey for their summer escapes, because they are ‘strong and have fantastic value.’
The Majorca Daily Bulletin reported that the Jet2 CEO said: ‘Shortly after the next elections, the elected rulers should speak out and make it clear what their intentions are in relation to the tourism industry.’
He said the main issue being reported by tourists was a lack of staff in hotels, rather than overcrowding.
A tourist dances on a table during a night out in Mallorca in 2007. The island has long been a favourite of German holidaymakers
German tourists enjoy a drink near the beach in Mallorca. The Jet2 CEO said tourists don’t mind the busy islands
‘Tourists are happy to come to Mallorca even if there are a lot of people, because it is a busy island and for many that is part of the experience – finding busy bars and restaurants.
‘There must be a good debate between the government, airlines, hotels and public, who have to find a compromise solution because it is a difficult matter to solve.’
He predicted that Brits would give up other luxuries before sacrificing some time in the sun, including Neflix and lottery tickets.
Lanzarote has an annual influx of 1.3million British holidaymakers who contributed to its £2.1billion annual tourist income last year, according to the Lanzarote Data Centre. Around half of all the tourists who visit the island are British.
British expats make up five per cent of Lanzarote’s 130,000 population.
In March, following criticism of her perceived tourism plans, President Corujo insisted in an open letter in island newspaper La Voz de Lanzarote: ‘It’s categorically false that in Lanzarote we do not want British tourism or that we want to reduce the numbers of British tourists.
‘I will say it once and for all. British tourism has always, is and will always be welcome on the island of Lanzarote.’
Earlier this year, British tourists landing on the Greek island of Rhodes were offered gifts of sweets and honey, and the municipality’s philharmonic band played local music, as the island continues to build back its tourism industry from the pandemic.