Dear Sir, I refer to the letter, which was published in your newspaper at the end of January, from Mr. Graham Phillips, to which I am delighted to have the opportunity to reply. As a hotelier myself and, furthermore, in my capacity as President of the Mallorca Convention Bureau, I am experiencing the problems presented by the winter season in Majorca on a daily basis. At the same time, I am also involved in efforts to determine which strategies would be most appropriate for increasing the number of visitors to our island during this period, of the segments which offer the most economic potential.

Mr. Phillips is quite right when he points out the great differences, which exist between occupancies during the summer season and those of the period from November to March. This, of course, is related to the market. Quite simply, the demand in markets such as the UK and Germany are very much reduced in the winter, whereas in others, such as the national market, France, Scandinavia, Italy, Belgium, Holland, etc., the occupancies are as little as 5% of those achieved in the summer months. In this segment, which is the typical summer market, the decrease in demand is due, quite simply, to the fact that people prefer to take their winter holidays in the Canary Islands or the Caribbean, where the climate is much warmer. Are there alternative markets? Yes, up to a certain point. This is the case of golfing holidays and other sports, such as cycling or tennis. There are also cultural aspects, such as gastronomy, rambling, etc, although these are minority markets.

The concept of golfing holidays has improved and increased a great deal. I can assure you that during the season, the golf courses are very popular and on some days it is impossible to gain access to the same. Indeed, the golf courses in Majorca are experiencing perhaps their highest popularity in their history and, of course, all these golfers reserve accommodation in Majorca – although not always in the hotels! I assume that it is well understood that alternative accommodation to hotels is extensive and very well organised.

Although it is true that the tennis market and other minority segments help and contribute to increasing occupancies, they do not really signify, as they do not represent a large enough capacity. Another important element is that of Congresses, Conventions and Incentives.

It is totally incomprehensible that Majorca does not have an adequate, modern, spacious, multi–purpose, functional and well–situated Congress Hall, when you consider that every day more and more groups included in this segment visit our island. This is a result of the joint promotion carried out by the Mallorca Convention Bureau and Ibatur, as well as the promotional efforts of many hotels, hotel chains and specialised travel agencies, all of whom offer our island and its specialised, complimentary products throughout the year to this significant business/leisure segment.

It is estimated that in the year 2000, approximately 150 groups of an average of 125 persons each, arrived in Majorca. The duration of their visits is usually three nights and the total amount spent per head, per day, is 45.000 ptas. These figures give us a total amount of business in excess of 2.500 million pesetas.

These visitors arrive in the winter, in the low season. They are in the high acquisition bracket and, as shown, highly profitable. This loss of opportunity does not only affect hotels, but also restaurants, bars, shops, car hire, taxis, etc. The whole city can benefit from this segment. It is quite true, Mr. Phillips, that we have to make more effort to increase these figures. Indeed, it is an obligation and a duty for all of us to give support from our Associations and, of course, from the Government, to offer better resources and increase investment in these areas. I can assure you that we are working on this, both individually and together, but it is not enough. It is never enough, but the effort and the determination are there. Presently with the help of the local authorities we are developing a Promotional Action Plan for this year 2001, which is more extensive and more ambitious that those carried out in previous years and which we hope will continue to give us the results which we are all hoping to see.

Juan M. Caldentey