All-inclusive - so do the holidaymakers ever go to the beach? | Archive

According to the ABTA travel association, around a third of British holidaymakers are planning to book all-inclusive packages in 2023. As reported by Palma-based Hosteltur magazine, this figure rises to almost 60% in the case of young families.

This does represent an upward trend, the reason for which is that all-inclusive "helps people control their travel spending". ABTA notes that despite the cost-of-living crisis, the desire to go on holiday isn't being diminished. But spending has to be held in check.

Spain is the preferred country for British all-inclusive holidaymakers, whereas Turkey, with Spain second, is the most popular for Germans. The DRV travel association in Germany has not offered a percentage of bookings but says that there are "numerous" all-inclusive bookings and for the same financial reasons as British holidaymakers.

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The development of all-inclusive over the past thirty years, in Mallorca certainly, has been related to economic conditions. The initial burst of this offer was in response to recession in the early 1990s. The financial crisis from 2008 led to growth of all-inclusive, but once the crisis passed, some hotels withdrew the offer; all-inclusive has typically been less profitable than other types of board.

Mallorca is now witnessing the emergence of the luxury all-inclusive, a prime example being the new Ikos Porto Petro. But whether luxury or standard, Hosteltur quotes the president of the CEAV travel agencies association in Spain, Carlos Garrido, who says that customers demand all-inclusive, "as it allows them to know what they are going to spend before leaving home".

Getting a true appreciation of how much all-inclusive there is in Mallorca isn't straightforward. The Balearic tourism ministry does have a register, but the figures have rarely been published. A complication in arriving at a definitive figure comes from the fact that there are hotels which offer all-inclusive only and others which have it as an option.

An historical indication, which proves the point about how the offer of all-inclusive fluctuates in line with economic circumstances, comes from 2015, when the ministry reported that 12% of hotels in Mallorca were all-inclusive. In 2010, at the height of the financial crisis, this was 18%. The offer of all-inclusive isn't of course solely a decision for hotels to make; there are tour operators to take into account as well.