The recently launched winter tourist season 2021/2022 smiles at the south of Tenerife after almost a year in white due to the pandemic, although with certain reservations due to the increase in infections in Europe. The sector, which shows cautious optimism, does not want to raise the bells to the flight and remains attentive to the upward evolution of the positives in the main European source markets (United Kingdom and Germany). But the trend predicts an occupation similar to that registered in 2019, before COVID.

An example is the AENA flight forecast in Tenerife South. The airlines have scheduled a total of 6.4 million seats for the winter season (between November 2021 and March 2022), 25% more than in 2019. 25.6 million seats are expected for the islands’ airports as a whole available (20% more than two years ago). The data from the Ministry of Tourism go in the same direction and, for now, it plans to close this year with more than six million visitors, one more than the previous calculation made by this department.

The Archipelago hopes to recover the bulk of its connectivity with 140 destinations from this month, and the south of Tenerife has the singing voice of an orchestra that has returned to occupy its seats and begins to interpret a score that only a new wave of contagions – and the consequent return to severe restrictions – could blur. Hence, the sector advances with lead feet and well-tuned radars.

The figures of the hotel management team point high. The tourist zero that plunged a little more than a year ago in an unprecedented blackout to the main Canarian economic sector, has today become more than 92% of the hotel and non-hotel plant operating in the south of the Island. Moved to the number of beds means that of the 73,553 that make up the offer in the region, 70,479 are already on the market. What’s more, Ashotel’s forecasts predict that 100% of the places will be available before the end of the year.

The World Travel Market has instilled even more optimism among institutional and hotel representatives. As explained by the Minister of Tourism, Yaiza Castilla, the British market, first in importance for the Islands and also for the South, will register a growth of 12.5% ​​for the winter months. A figure that, with the permission of the COVID, could even improve due to two factors: the cold winter that is beginning to hit the United Kingdom and, as tour operators point out, due to the desire to travel of a large segment of the British population.

María Victoria López, president of the Fedola Group and vice president of the Ashotel association, confirmed that hotel occupancy in the South of Tenerife reaches 85%. “Almost the entire accommodation floor is open and we are noticing that customers stay longer and consume a lot outside the hotels, there is more joy in the street,” said the Tenerife businesswoman, who described the traditional high season as “interesting” and similar to 2019. “It will be a good winter if nothing happens,” he stressed.

“We have recovered the illusion, the hotels have adapted to the current situation, with restrictions that the guests respect, but we must all be very responsible to contain the contagions”, asked López. In her opinion, “the world has changed and so have tourists, a new way of traveling is being forged and companies are showing a greater ability to adapt to new times.”

For the hotel businessman and president of the Forum of Friends of the South of Tenerife (FAST) José Fernando Cabrera, “the expectations are promising and, if the current trend continues, we can repeat the results of two years ago.” Of course, he demanded more sanitary controls in the airports of Tenerife “so that everything does not come down to us”, and recalled that the statistics indicate that the number of infections is growing, especially in tourist areas.

“A new hit would make things very difficult and it would cost a lot to recover again, so we play a lot,” he warned, and demanded the launch of a campaign aimed at promoting vaccination among the people most reluctant to receive their dose of immunization. “The vast majority of hospital admissions for COVID are people who have not been vaccinated. A great job has been done with 80% of the population, but the remaining 20% ​​need to be convinced”.

Better planning

For his part, Roberto Ucelay, president of the Círculo de Empresarios del Sur de Tenerife (CEST), confirmed the favorable expectations for the sector. “November 2021 will be a very good month and the most important thing is that customer reservations for accommodation, both in hotels, aparthotels and in vacation homes are received two and up to three months in advance, something that did not happen until September, which allows plan a high occupancy”.

Ucelay even went further and underlined his “good feelings” for the summer of 2022, “as long as COVID-19 is stopped.”

Faced with the advance of the pandemic in the United Kingdom and Germany, the president of the Cabildo, Pedro Martín, has asked that new coronavirus control measures be taken, among which he highlighted the reinforcement of health controls at airports and tourist complexes. In that sense, he appealed to the “good experience” of these measures adopted in previous waves of the virus. “We must all be aware of what we are at stake,” he insisted.