Armengol and the Balearic delegation at the World Travel Market in London. | Balearic government

British tour operators want a ten month season in the Balearics, the Balearic Minister for Economic Model, Tourism and Employment, Iago Negueruela, said today.

“The forecasts are going in the direction of extending the season,” said Negueruela, in response to questions from journalists about meetings with British operators from the Balearic delegation at the World Travel Market in London.

The President of the Government, Francina Armengol, said that “the Balearics is very consolidated as a tourist destination at an international level” and that the community has managed to “come out of the pandemic stronger end enjoyed a great tourist season” in which it has recovered 90% of British tourism prior to the pandemic, making it the community that has recovered more tourists from the UK than the rest of Spain.

“In terms of tourism as a whole, we have had more tourist spending, which is very important,” Armengol stressed.

The President also emphasised the extension of the season: “We have achieved the best September for tourism in many years and an October with record employment figures on the islands, with a 5.9% administrative unemployment rate, which means full employment, and with more permanent contracts, which guarantees more social cohesion on the islands”.

Armengol stressed that the Government has been working for seven years in agreement with the trade unions, employers, the entire sector and other institutions “to make it possible to extend the tourist season”, something that the figures for September and October show, despite “all of the uncertainties”.

“The forecasts for British tourism for next year are very good, we are going to manage to start the season earlier and continue with this strategy of deseasonalisation, which is very important for our labour market and business sector”, stressed the president, who said that this is being done at the same time as transforming the tourism model.

She cited the Tourism Law, “which will position the Balearic Islands as the world’s leading circular destination, focusing on quality and fighting against excessive tourism” and which means “not only thinking about the present, but also about the future”.

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Its application coincides “with the most important investment cycle in history”, with European funds, “which will continue to help modernise and innovate in the sector”, and with the application of the tax regime in the autonomous community “which helps this approach of innovating the tourism sector as a lever for other sectors”.

Regarding the request by MÉS to stop promoting the Balearic Islands at major tourism fairs, Armengol defended the joint work of “the political forces of the pact of progress” over the last seven years to extend the tourist season.

“We are promoting this, the winter, and managing to extend the season, and 200,000 families in our autonomous community depend on this, who undoubtedly need us to have good tourist seasons in order to have a good job situation and hope for the future,” she said.

For the economy “that depends so much on the service sector and tourism”, Armengol defended the work to diversify the economy: “Together with the partners in government we are also achieving this.

“It is important to continue along the lines we have been working on together for seven years and achieving these milestones: extending the tourist season, trying to explain that the Balearics is not just a summer destination for sun and sand, but that it is much more, and this is what we have come to London to explain once again; and that we are also managing to diversify our economy”, she reiterated.

After the good season and the institutional backing for companies, Armengol considers it necessary to “distribute the wealth that is generated”.
After agreeing with the civil service unions on a wage increase to alleviate the effects of inflation, Armengol said: “We understand that the private sector has to do the same in collective bargaining and take advantage of this moment to redistribute wealth and that workers benefit from these good tourist seasons”.

The Secretary of State for Tourism and President of Turespaña, Fernando Valdés, described it as “commendable” that the Balearics has achieved an excellent high season, with more than 90% of tourism in 2019, at a time marked by international uncertainty.

He stressed that the forecasts are “reasonably optimistic” although “caution must prevail when uncertainty continues to mark the sector”, but indicated that the air capacity of the British market is at the level of 2019 for the autumn-winter season and confirmed bookings are again at around 90% of the 2019 figures”.