The consumption of tourists falters due to the high price of flights

Archive image of tourists in a shopping center in Puerto Rico, in the south of Gran Canaria. / C7

The president of Fund Grube and member of the Círculos de Empresarios warns that the destination loses competitiveness

CANARY ISLANDS7 The Gran Canarian palms.

Businessmen who depend directly on the tourism sector are beginning to notice in their sales the "high prices" paid by peninsular tourists for air tickets to come to the Canary Islands.

The president of Fund Grube and member of the Círculos de Empresarios de Gran Canaria, Dhiraj Chhabria, assures that the improvement in tourist occupation is not being reflected to the same extent in the consumption of visitors. "Tourists now pay more for their flights and stays in the Canary Islands and, therefore, are consuming fewer products when they leave their hotels."

This weakness in consumption, he confirmed, "is more noticeable in German and Nordic visitors, who plan more consumption at the destination and, in addition, are closely experiencing the invasion of Ukraine, which leads them to contain more spending."

Fund Grube, one of the main chain stores in the Canary Islands specializing in the sale of various beauty, lifestyle and fashion products and which employs 700 people, is also suffering from inflation. "We see it in our suppliers in general, in the premises, products, services, works, facilities... they have all raised prices." In the income statement, the cost of electricity is what we are noticing the most, it has practically tripled in recent months.

In this sense, and to try not to affect the price of their products, Dhinraj Chhabria explains that they have taken some saving measures in the store. The stoppage suffered during the pandemic is still slowing down the merchandise they receive from abroad. And it is that many of its "suppliers have a great dependence on Asia for the manufacture, for example, of perfumes." "Production is not enough to meet all the demand that exists worldwide," he added.

According to the member of the Círculo de Empresarios de Gran Canaria, "the health crisis, the conflict in Ukraine, the lack of supplies, the rise in prices...many factors are causing a change in the profile of the visitors we receive." In this sense, he explained that "a large part of the visitors who have arrived until April have an improper profile of the winter tourist, who are usually people of an older age and spend more in the destination." On the other hand, «now we see more tourists with children and who spend prioritizing in restaurants and leisure and less in shops. It is a tourist more typical of summer ».

Products that have to do with consumption at the destination, such as swimwear, sunglasses or sun protection, which are considered essential tourist needs, have skyrocketed, but, on the other hand, the purchase of products cosmetics have decreased. “We are closely analyzing these trends to find out if it is something specific or they are here to stay,” reflected the CEO of Fund Grube.

“I am very concerned about consumption in the local areas of the Canary Islands, the tourist areas will leave before the pothole,” he concluded.

Along the same lines and as a positive aspect, Chhabria pointed out that “as a result of the pandemic, many tourists are arriving who did not know the Canary Islands and who previously visited more distant places such as the Maldives or Thailand. Now they are delighted with our fate."

To overcome all these adversities, according to Dhiraj Chhabria, it is essential that "businessmen remain united, that they seek support and long-term agreements because there is still a long way to go until a certain normality is achieved."

Another important aspect to overcome this crisis is innovation, as indicated.

"We have to keep looking for ways to be efficient because the job market has changed, teams and customers are even more important."

In this sense, he pointed out that it is necessary to encourage electronic commerce from the Canary Islands. An aspect that would allow us "to compete with the same possibilities as the rest of Europe, where they have lower logistics costs."

"For me the most important issue that remains unresolved is the high price of flights from the peninsula for non-residents," he said. According to his reflection, for the commercial sector, the visitor who spends the most at the destination is the national, "but many, for the price, prefer to travel to other destinations such as the Caribbean," despite being more hours away.

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