Cala Macarella in Menorca - all the islands have experienced tourist growth this year. | Gemma Andreu


Forecasts for the final quarter of 2023 indicate that the total number of tourists in the Balearics this year will pass the 17 million mark. If so, 2023 will shatter the current record year - 2018 with 16,583,654.

Hotel and holiday rentals sources anticipate numbers similar to those for the October-December period last year. There were exceptional numbers of visitors in October and November, aided by some very good weather. The Spanish association that coordinates flight slots is pointing to increased seat and flight availability.

The figures for August, which will be released this week, will provide a further indication as to the annual total. For January to July, the cumulative total was 10.13 million, well above 2018 (9.40 million), 2019 (9.52 million) and 2022 (9.29 million). If that trend is shown to have continued, then surpassing 17 million for the year will look almost inevitable.

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In February this year, the then tourism minister, Iago Negueruela, said that 2022's figures (16.5 million) should not be exceeded and that "it will be necessary to analyse how to reduce the arrival of visitors to the Balearic Islands".

Against a background of concerns about tourist overcrowding, there is now a new government which dismisses talk of a decrease in numbers. This said, the tourism minister, Jaume Bauzá, has said that there will not be growth in the number of tourist accommodation places - registered places, as the illegal offer of holiday lets has been a contributory factor to tourist saturation, especially in the summer.

But these concerns will only be heightened if, as seems likely, the 17 million barrier is breached.