Rosana Morillo, secretary-of-state for tourism. | Teresa Ayuga


Until recently, Rosana Morillo was the Balearic government's director-general for tourism. She is now Spain's secretary-of-state for tourism. Her first official visit in her new role was to Mallorca for a meeting at which European funds for Balearic tourism were discussed.

Back in Palma, she faced certain questions about the islands' tourism. One of these concerned prices. Responding to the suggestion that the Balearics might engage in a price war this summer with competitor destinations, Morillo was clear: in the Balearics, it's about quality and not price. "The strategy of the Balearic tourism sector and other regions has not been to compete on prices with Turkey or Egypt, but to offer security to the visitor." Those competitors, she noted, are in any event having to look at price increases because of energy costs. But price, in general terms and in her view, is not proving to be a "demotivating factor" for holiday bookings.

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Any talk of a price war for Balearic tourism, erroneous though this may be, focuses on the summer and not the winter. The November tourist figures were released on Wednesday, and the Balearics were where the Balearics always are once the summer season has concluded - sixth among Spain's regions behind the Canaries, Catalonia, Andalusia, Madrid and Valencia. Rather than the seven-figure foreign tourist numbers of summer, the Balearics attracted 165,000 in November. Valencia, the fifth-ranked region (Benidorm and all), received 520,000.

For Morillo, the European funds offer "a great opportunity to diversify and seasonally adjust Spanish sun-and-beach tourist destinations"; not just the Balearics then. These funds will help to extend the season, diversify and create new products to capture demand.

Which is the great hope of both the Spanish and the Balearic governments. As it has been for many a year.