Scandinavians currently head the list of tourist spending. | Jaume Morey

The 2022 tourism season is set to become the highest spending ever in Mallorca and the Balearics, and the reasons are obvious enough - inflation, upward adjustment of prices plus a consumer willingness to spend after two summers off.

The rise in prices compared to last year is hardly a surprise, given that the tourism sector was surviving on offers. Meanwhile, inflation has contributed to pushing up average spending per person per stay by 211 euros more than in 2019.

For the first four months of 2022, tourist numbers in the Balearics were 88% of what they were for January to April 2019. Spending, however, was up ten per cent. In May, the consumer price index element for tourism and hospitality inflation indicated an eight per cent rise. Hotel prices are, on average, up ten per cent year on year.

The most significant increases have been for two to three-star hotels; the increases for higher-end hotels have been more modest. Revenue per available room is up by as much as 60% compared with a year ago.

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According to figures from from the Balearic Institute of Statistics, average spending per stay by foreign visitors in April 2019 was 917 euros; in April this year this was up to 1,128 euros. Scandinavian tourists headed the list with 1,325 euros per person, followed by the Swiss (1,235), the British (1,170) and the Germans (1,107).

It is said that accumulated savings over the past two summers have made it easier for this year's visitors to assume price rises. In the case of Spanish tourists, however, their spending is way lower - 543 euros per person, some 90 euros more than in 2019. It should be noted, though, that a good proportion of national tourism from January to April was Imserso. Spanish senior citizens on these holidays are not known for their spending, while the prices for accommodation are set at a lower rate.

Inflation will affect profitability. Jaime Monserrat, CEO of tourism analysts Dingus, says that "there is recovery and growth in demand, but inflation is going to have a significant impact on profitability; it will be difficult to recover the profit levels necessary to be able to invest". He believes that these levels will not be reached until 2024. The president of the Habtur holiday rentals association, Toni Barceló, says that an increase in prices was intended to compensate for 2020 and 2021 losses, "but profits are going to be diluted by higher costs".

The Balearic government has been pointing to the islands attracting a tourist "who spends more" and to the fact that increased prices are not resulting in a decrease in the number of visitors. Tourism minister Iago Negueruela says that it is still too early to know what real impact inflation will have on business profitability. But despite the fact that the levels forecast a few months ago may not be reached, "the season is going to show a very positive final balance".