Spanish airport operators AENA have just released new figures that reveal that British tourism to Spain’s island of Lanzarote has increased by 6% to date this year.  This suggests that a week in the sun remains more of a necessity than a luxury for many in the UK!  It also confounds speculation that the credit crunch could spell the end of holidays abroad and is very encouraging indeed for the Spanish property market as a whole.

Lanzarote has been a ‘hot’ destination with British tourists for many years, and is one of the most popular Canary Island retreats which has meant that its property market has thrived in recent years as well – but as the Spanish property market as a whole went into decline, many wondered what this meant for the tourism climate too.

Well, despite the current economic climate in the UK and across Europe, it seems that visitor numbers from the UK to the eastern most Canary Island have continued to rise this year, and that for investors who time their entry carefully, a well located and priced property in Lanzarote could still make a good investment choice.

The Island of Fire, as Lanzarote is known, welcomed a total of 708,506 British guests during the first ten months of 2008.  This was a direct increase of 6% on the previous year’s figures, and it really does provide welcome news for both those who already have property in Spain on the island of Lanzarote, as well as for the many investors who would like to buy into apartments or holiday villas in Lanzarote.

The new AENA figures also further cement the UK´s position as Lanzarote´s most important market when it comes to tourism – which bodes well for British buyers too, as it means they are more likely to receive a positive reception in Lanzarote when they register their interest.  With British tourists accounting for well over 50% of all visits made by non-Spanish nationals to the island, a figure which has also increased in the year to date, British potential investors can also target their Spanish property purchasers directly to the market demand that they know and understand.  This all makes Lanzarote’s real estate landscape even more appealing to those seeking a market where there is still strong demand for tourism rental accommodation.

Consumers from other key markets such as Ireland are also refusing to relinquish their place in the sun it seems.  Lanzarote is in fact already established as the most popular holiday destination in the whole of Spain for tourists from Ireland, and so far this year the island has welcomed 186,759 Irish guests – an increase of almost 2% on 2007’s figures.

Elsewhere visitor numbers from Scandinavia have also been enjoying something of a renaissance.  Scandinavia was a particularly key market for Lanzarote back in the days when package tourism first started to really take off in the 1970´s, and the new AENA figures reveal that so far this year visitor numbers from Sweden have risen by a whopping 35.07%, whilst Norway has registered an increase of 19.6%, and visitor numbers from Finland are up by 14.33%.  Scandinavia as a whole has provided a total of 64,864 guests for the year to date – and as their numbers rise, so again a would-be investor can see that there is potential from property on the island simply because there is an undeniable and an increasing demand for tourist rental accommodation.

It’s not all good news however, tourist numbers from Lanzarote´s second largest target market of Germany continue to decline.  This is a downward trend that has been evident for some time as German holidaymakers tighten their belts in the face of the economic crisis that their nation is currently suffering.  Visitor numbers from Germany have fallen by 13.23% during the first ten months of this year.  However, never ones to rest on their laurels, the island tourist authorities on Lanzarote and across the Canaries are being very proactive and continuing their positive promotion of Spain and the Canary Islands in Germany with a big budget marketing campaign that’s designed to lure back these missing German guests.

If you thought it was a case of Spain’s property markets being down and out across the board, as you can see this is absolutely not the case.  Yes property prices in centres such as Lanzarote have fallen – but when you then examine this fact in light of the news that tourism numbers are up, a savvy investor will see this as an opportunity.  I.e., an opportunity to buy a property at a more realistic price in a market where there is strong rental demand and healthy potential profits to be derived from targeting the tourism market.