There is always an issue with the Imserso holidays. | Gemma Andreu

The Balearic tourism minister, Jaume Bauzá, has expressed his concern about the latest delay to the Imserso programme of low-season holidays for Spanish senior citizens.

The delay to the sale of these holidays is because of challenges to contractual terms and specifications from tourism and travel organisations who compete to offer them. The matter is being dealt with by the tribunal for contractual disputes in Madrid, and it has suspended the various 'lots' while seeking a resolution. The lots refer to different geographical areas of Spain where these holidays are provided.

Bauzá says that the delay could result in hotels closing rather than staying open over the winter. He is urging the Spanish government to ensure that the programme is launched as soon as possible, as Imserso contributes to extending the season and maintaining jobs for longer.

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* The difficulties regarding the 2023-2024 programme are hardly anything new. Each year there is a row about something or other. In Mallorca, fewer hotels now participate in Imserso than used to be the case. They, and it is the same elsewhere in Spain, have complained that their guaranteed income from what is a state-subsidised scheme barely covers costs (if at all); the packages are normally all-inclusive.

While it is the case that Imserso does enable employment over the low season, benefits in a broad sense are limited. Hotels benefit, even if they complain, as do coach operators and certain attractions which remain open.

Imserso contributes to bumping up the tourist arrival statistics in low-season months. Spain and Germany are by far the largest sources of Mallorca's tourism for some of these months.