THE desire for an alternative to sun, sea and sand has seen holiday reservations in rural Spain soar.

The closure of borders until July, together with the restrictions and special measures applied on beaches, have generated a spectacular upturn in inland tourism.

According to Antonio Caño, president of the Association of Travel Agents of Cordoba, while the market has seen a plunge in beach destinations, there is a significant increase in interest in rural tourism, especially in Cordoba.

“Demand in Cordoba has grown by over 30% compared to the end of May last year,” he said.

“Other years, beach destinations were popular, now it’s rural accommodation.”

Parque_natural_sierras_subb  Ticas_04
Subbetica Natural Park, Cordoba.

Cordoba in particular, in areas such as the Subbetica, where there is a considerable number of rural houses with swimming pools, is seeing a significant increase in demand.

Also boasting the Alto Guadalquivir and Los Pedroches, it is has the second-highest number of rural tourism accommodations in Andalucia, surpassed only by Malaga.

Last year 48,070 people visited rural Cordoba, resulting in 126,656 overnight stays.

The Junta estimates hotels and accommodations in inland Andalucia will see a 75% occupation rate in August.

Regional tourism minister Juan Marin, said this Wednesday that from recent data received on reservations, it’s estimated that tourist capacity across the whole of Andalucia during July will exceed 60% and 70-75% in August.

In a recent survey, hotel searches in Spain soared by 142% following news that the country would reopen to tourism from June 22.

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