Everyone it seems is talking about how tough 2009 is going to be for Western economies (as well as for themselves!), and Lanzarote and the Canary Islands in general are certainly not immune from the effects of the recession. So how will it affect the holiday industry here in 2009, and especially the holiday villa market that is such a large part of the island's industry?

So far, Villa Managers and owners in Playa Blanca are reporting that although the first two months’ enquiries for 2009 are brisk, most interest at the moment seems to be on short notice and late booking deals. No doubt customers are keen to escape the general economic gloom, as well as one of the coldest and wettest winters for many years in Northern Europe, to where they can get some sunshine on their backs!

It is also clear that UK customers especially are looking for really good value, bearing in mind that the pound is buying 15-20 per cent fewer euros than a year ago, and fewer still than 2 years ago. The Managers and agents that we have spoken to say that the most popular villas combine highly competitive prices with something extra that sets them apart from others in their area. In addition to private pools and sea views, inclusion of hot tubs and high quality furnishings seem to be ‘hitting the spot’ for many customers.

When it comes to Summer bookings, there are plenty of enquiries, yet firm bookings are proving slower than in the last few years. Perhaps people are concerned about the future of their jobs, and therefore don’t want to commit too far in advance?

But villa owners should not get too gloomy. Recent statistics show that Lanzarote visitor numbers, though down year on year, are bearing up very well compared to other islands and other parts of Europe. This is believed to be in no small part due to the great loyalty towards Lanzarote felt by many holiday visitors, who return year after year and regard the island as a second home - even if they only come here for a few weeks each year.

The bottom line is that Lanzarote has weathered recessions in the past, and emerged strongly from them, and is likely to do so again this time around.

As for the current strength of the euro against the pound, how long will this last? As Euroland interest rates continue to fall, and as European economies move sharply into recession to match the UK and US, the euro is likely to come under increasing pressure – to the benefit of the pound and spending power of UK visitors. Both these trends are already starting to happen, and forecast to continue as we move through 2009. It is already starting to affect how currency investors see the year - see this article from the Telegraph.

So perhaps the lesson for villa owners and their customers alike is that it pays to wait...villa owners should take time to prepare their villas well, update photographs to make the best of all their villas’ features, and of course, advertise prominently through quality travel information sites such as All Things Lanzarote that enjoy top Google rankings – and the bookings will surely follow.

The thoughts above are simply our views.  What are your's?  Add your comments to this article below.