The Soller Train is a very popular attraction. | MDB


According to the Abactur association of tourist activities, the number of visits to attractions by Spanish pensioners on Imserso holidays in the Balearics has risen by 70% this year.

The Imserso programme ends next month, by when some 110,000 pensioners will have had holidays in the Balearics, the great majority in Mallorca. The programme started in January, later than it should have done because of a dispute over the awarding of lots for the holidays to the consortia that operate them.

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Up to the end of April there were 95,000 Imserso holidaymakers. Abactur says that 80% of them went on at least one excursion to attractions that are members of the association. The most popular, in order, were the Soller Train, the Caves of Drac and Hams, Perlas Orquídea, Majórica, the Porciúncula Church and Palma Aquarium.

The association's president, Rafa Durán, says that the increase in the number of visitors "represents the possibility of extending the tourist season and being able to offer a quality, specialised service during the low season".

A criticism of the Imserso programme, which is subsidised by the Spanish government, is that benefits for businesses are very limited. Coach operators and indeed attractions benefit the most from a market segment traditionally perceived as being low spending. The Imserso packages typically include all-inclusive hotel arrangements. Hotels themselves have been critical because of the low revenues they receive.