By Clare Walsh | August 2016 | 10 minute read
Spain’s islands offer a safe haven, guaranteed sunshine and top-class beaches, but there are plenty of culture and adventure options to sell too.
"Menorca is always called low-key compared to its neighbours and this is true - but don't think that this means boring! Menorca offers the same rocky bays, azure water and sandy beaches, but feels less changed by tourism and more Spanish.”
LAURA GELDER, ONLINE EDITOR, SELLING TRAVEL
Delicious delicacies: Foodie heaven is calling in Menorca – try a local lobster stew washed down with a refreshing Pomada (gin with lots of crushed ice)
Tee off: Play on one of the 24 golf courses across Majorca. Many hotels are geared towards golf, such as Pure Salt Adriano hotel which has its own Golf Academy
Soothing vibes: Costa Calma evokes ‘floaty bliss’ – and that’s just what clients will find on beaches in Fuerteventura
Find your speck: Fifteen blue flag sandy stretches await clients in Tenerife – the highest number in the Canaries
Enchanted forest Feel the magic in Frontera Rural Park in El Hierro. Featuring ancient twisted Juniper trees, this type of forest only grows in three places in the world
Caribbean dreamin’: Take a boat trip to Formentera, Ibiza’s untouched sister island. With crystalline waters and flop-on white sands, it is dubbed the Caribbean of the Med
Cheesy treats: Take a visit to one of the many cheeseries in Fuertaventura and try a Designation of Origin Majerero cheese
Smugglers secrets: The caves at C’an Marca in Ibiza were once used by pirates. Book a guided tour to see ethereal stalagmites, stalactites and waterfall
Ask the astronaut: Ask the astronaut: The Starmus Festival III takes place each summer and is a celebration of science, art and music attended by astronauts, stargazers and astrophysicists
Don the hiking boots: Head to the Tramuntana Mountain range in west Mallorca. Visit outside the summer season and enjoy striking landscapes and challenging routes
A safe bet
Spain and its islands have seen a huge surge in demand this year, with tour operators citing an almost 25% increase in bookings. A survey last year showed that 30% of British tourists rank security as one of their key concerns, and with Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia off the list for many, Spain is seen as a reassuringly safe bet.
Meanwhile, tour operators have warned against leaving booking too late as holidays in popular resorts are fast selling out.
Need to know
Clients travelling to the Balearics now have to pay a tourism tax of up to €2 per night. The Sustainable Tourist Tax has been put in place in recognition of the extra stress on the fragile territories and limited resources of the islands.
Menorca has been encouraging sustainable tourism for years and is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. With its dramatic aesthetic, tourists are encouraged to take part in activities that support the preservation of the island like horse riding and kayaking, while environmental hotels are a further draw for clients seeking an eco-holiday.
Sister island Mallorca, the largest of the Balearics, is hugely popular with cyclists due to its varied terrain. Opportunities for gentle rides through almond groves or tackling the mighty Serra de Tramuntuna contrast with the many fly-and-flop options also available.
Gran Canaria has been reinventing its offering by creating new tourist areas such as Meloneras, Amadores and Puerto Mogan, with newly built hotels along oceanfront promenades. It has also been working on repositioning the destination for premium clients by expanding its spa and wellness offering, and is seeing more clients choosing four- and five-star hotels.
Tenerife’s focus for 2016 is to target niche segments such as their luxury product ‘Tenerife Select’ and their new adventure sports brand ‘Tenerife No Limits’ which focuses on activities such as hiking, cycling, star-gazing, whale watching, gastronomy and wine.
What the experts say
“Majorca offers a diverse range of holidays from cosmopolitan city breaks in Palma to the hedonism of Magaluf. Those after a quieter holiday can escape to luxury hotels in secluded locations.
GORDON MCCREADIE, DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING, GOLD MEDAL AND TRAVEL 2
“Our key focus is on our “Tenerife 100% Life” brand. Unveiled in 2015, this new brand combines all the elements which make Tenerife a unique and differentiated destination: our pleasant weather; the beauty and diversity of the natural landscapes; the friendliness of the islanders. We will target niche products and different segment markets through the promotion of Tenerife in specific media.
“As well as promoting our niche products under our ‘Tenerife No Limits’and ‘Tenerife Select’ brands, we will continue to work very closely with our trade partners to promote both the niche and more mainstream products. This will include promotions via our new online Tenerife Training Programme which was launched in November 2015 to help agents learn about Tenerife’s diverse landscapes, excellent range of attractions and unique holiday experiences that visitors can enjoy on the island.”
RICHARD HUME, UK REPRESENTATIVE, TENERIFE
Attractions: Singha at Siam Park in Tenerife has been awarded Best New Water Attraction. The 240m waterslide simulates a roller-coaster that propels guests on a toboggan at speeds of up to 18m per second!
Accommomdation: Luxury brand Pure Sal completed its refurbishment of Pure Salt Garonda in Playa de Palma, Mallorca in March 2016. April saw the reopening Pure Salt Adriano. The only five-star hotel in Calvia, it features 94 guest rooms, while its cliff-top position affords views of the Mediterranean
Recently opened, Park Hyatt Mallorca is situated on the relatively unknown east coast. Overlooking the Canyamel Valley, it has 126 rooms and 16 suites, along with a wellness centre, spa, 24-hour fitness centre and landscaped poolside terrace.
A new Hard Rock Hotel is set to open in Tenerife in November. The beachfront hotel in Playa Paraiso will feature 624 rooms and suites spread across two towers catering for a family-friendly and adults-only experience.
A new five-star hotel from GF hotels is due to open in Tenerife in December 2016. The luxury Victoria Suite hotel will be exclusively dedicated to families with activities including nurseries, tree houses, zip-lines and a ‘hanging swimming pool’ on the seventh floor.
Tour operators: Off the Map Travel has added Tenerife to its portfolio with a ‘Whales and Stars’ programme focusing on whale-watching and stargazing on Mount Teide.
Where to book it
Travel 2 has a week in Lanzarote from £919pp. This is based on seven nights at the five-star Princesa Yaiza Suites Hotel on a B&B basis. Flights to Lanzarote with Thomas Cook Airlines for travel on September 12, 2016.
Rail Discoveries offers an eight-day tour Majorca & the ‘Orange Express’, from £895pp, with two departures in September and October 2016 and eight departures from May-October 2017. Highlights include Puerto Pollensa, Cap de Formentor, a guided city tour of Palma and a ride on the Tren de Sóller, or Orange Express.