The majority of hotels have pulled out of the programme. | Archive

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Hotels in Mallorca and the Balearics had warned that they wouldn't participate in the 2022/2023 Imserso programme of subsidised holidays for Spanish senior citizens, and the majority of these hotels are sticking to this warning.

Imserso holidays, which are available in various regions of the country, go on sale on September 20. The first visitors to the Balearics are scheduled to arrive during the first fortnight of October. Forty-four hotels have been taking part in the programme (overwhelmingly in Mallorca and mostly in Playa de Palma or Magalluf/Palmanova), but to date not even a third have signed up for 2022/2023.

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The hotels, and certainly not only in the Balearics, have long been at loggerheads with the Spanish government over the payments they receive. Increased costs have exacerbated the discontent, the hotels insisting that a payment per tourist per night (all inclusive) of 23.50 euros is too little. The programme comes under the auspices of the social rights ministry and not the tourism ministry, and the social rights minister, Ione Belarra, has flatly rejected any increase that would make the holidays more costly.

The executive vice president of the Mallorca Hoteliers Federation, María José Aguiló, emphasises that participation in the programme "is voluntary, freely decided by the companies, and their adherence to it depends on the interests of each one". She adds that "a profound update" of the programme is required. This is not just in terms of price but also in respect of the profile of Imserso travellers and activities offered to them. They are not the same as they were "40 years ago".