ForwardKeys, the leading travel intelligence company based in Valencia, latest air ticketing data highlights the importance of events for tourism. International arrivals to Valencia for the week of 28 August, as of 18 August, the week of La Tomatina, are set to grow by 4% vs. 2019 levels.

“La Tomatina” festival, declared in 2002 “Festival of International Tourist Interest by the General Secretariat of Tourism” is a world-famous festival that has gained immense popularity and recognition globally. It takes place annually on the last Wednesday of August in the town of Buñol, located in the Valencia region of Spain. The festival involves participants engaging in a massive tomato fight where thousands of people throw ripe tomatoes at each other in the streets, turning the entire area into a sea of red pulp. The event typically lasts for about an hour, and the tomato-throwing is followed by cleaning efforts and festivities.

Thanks to its unique concept, media coverage and promotion, La Tomatina has gained such widespread fame that attendees come from all corners of the world. The festival’s popularity among international tourists continues to grow, making it a truly global event where people from diverse backgrounds come together to share in the excitement and fun. As the host country, Spain naturally has a significant presence at the festival. Many locals from Buñol and the surrounding areas participate, contributing to the event’s authentic atmosphere, however, the festival is also popular with foreign travellers, particularly from long-haul markets.

According to ForwardKeys’ latest air ticketing data, the recovery for arrivals from China to Spain during this week is set to reach an impressive 70% of 2019 levels, whilst the previous week was only at 49%, and the following week is set to reach 60% of 2019 levels. Furthermore, Chinese arrivals to Valencia this week will represent 11% of all visits from Chinese tourists to the city between July to September. This peak contrasts with the distribution of Chinese arrivals to all of Southern Europe and Spain, which are spread more evenly throughout the summer season.

Connectivity remains key for tourism recovery. With 590k seats scheduled in August, air capacity at Valencia Airport this month has grown by 16% vs. last year and up by 23% on August 2019 volumes. Yet, the Spanish airport does not currently have any regular long-haul connection. The top growing markets heading to Valencia during this week include Germany (+30%) and the United Kingdom (+10%) both up on 2019 arrival levels.

Tickets issued for long-haul arrivals to Valencia in the week commencing 28 Aug (the week of the Tomatina festival) represent 16% of all international travel. The proportion of long-haul tickets issued from Northeast Asia jumped from an average of 5% of the total between July and August to 9% during the week commencing 28 August, before dropping back to 7% the following week, highlighting the increase of demand from this origin region. The same can be seen for tickets from South Asia, which represented a 2% share of long-haul arrivals to Valencia between July and August, before doubling its share to represent 4% in the week commencing 28 August.

Other important long-haul origin markets that look to be drawn to this popular festival include Australia -37% vs. 2019 and India +21% vs. 2019. YoY results for those markets are +31% for Australia and +53% for India.

“As well as contributing to tourist revenue, events attracting an international audience are crucial for destinations looking to develop a loyal, returning visitor demographic. Traditional festivals are a good example, boosting local economies thanks to local and, increasingly, international spending” says Juan A. Gómez, Head of Market Intelligence at ForwardKeys.

“Industry stakeholders need to plan the development of destination brands around events like these to attract interest from younger-trending demographics and build lifelong connections. Leveraging travel intelligence data is key here, to gain a granular understanding of the impact of the events, as well as the surrounding trends and travel patterns,” adds Gómez.

To discover how the latest event module in Destination Gateway can up your events game versus competitor destinations and global events or holidays, visit:

Founded in 2010, ForwardKeys has pioneered the way forward for tourism organisations, hotels, and retailers keen to understand who is travelling where, when, and for how long. We’ve managed to share such information by having the most comprehensive ticketing data covering the globe from online bookings to travel agencies and airlines. From ticketing data to Seat Capacity and Total Air Market (TAM), the variety of datasets means you get a 360-degree view of the real travel ecosystem. Equipped with historical data, future bookings, and forecasts, planning can be simpler with daily updated data. For more information contact us.


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2023-09-01T10:59:16+02:0029/08/2023|All, DMO, Events, In the News|
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