Hoteliers say that Imserso isn't financially viable. | Archive

Speaking in Palma on Friday, Spain's minister for industry, trade and tourism, Reyes Maroto, stated that Imserso holidays for the elderly "are guaranteed". She expressed confidence that the contracting process to offer these holidays "will be completed satisfactorily".

Maroto's guarantee will have come as news to Mallorca's hoteliers, who have said that they will be withdrawing from the Imserso programme. In Benidorm, the hoteliers intend establishing their own scheme, the main issue with Imserso being what hotels receive under what is a government-subsidised programme of low-season holidays for Spain's elderly.

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This has been an issue for years but it is especially so now because of increased costs. The Imserso holidays are the responsibility of the ministry of social rights and not Maroto's ministry. The minister for social rights, Ione Belarra, has insisted that prices of the holidays will not rise and that therefore there won't be anything more for hotels - the maximum that is paid is 23.50 euros per person per night (all-inclusive).

With talk of Imserso holidays "disappearing" because of hotelier resistance, Maroto stressed the importance of maintaining a social programme that addresses the seasonality of tourism demand. She did also note, however, that Imserso needs "modernisation".