Has a ceiling been reached in terms of tourist numbers? | MDB


Sebastian Ebel, the CEO of TUI, says that it is "obvious" that Spain and the Balearics in particular are going to be winners in terms of attracting tourists this summer. There are various good reasons why - political stability, product quality, improvements in infrastructure and hotel facilities over recent years. "Customers are happy to spend their holidays there and at TUI we are seeing a significant increase in demand."

With the increase in demand come the debates about tourist overcrowding. Ebel can't say whether a ceiling in terms of numbers has been reached. "This is not a question I wish to answer. I would prefer the people of the Balearic Islands to say how many tourists they want to have. The islands offer a great product and people love spending their holidays there.

"Our obligation is to ensure that we contribute by bringing the right customer. Without sustainability it would be very difficult for us to maintain our activity, so we must ensure that what we do is also valuable for the people of the Balearics. If in the end there are too many tourists or too few, that must be decided by the residents themselves."

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Ebel believes that the islands and Spain in general are doing well in maintaining and increasing the quality of the tourist offer. "I'm sure that this is the objective that everyone in the Balearics is pursuing. We want to ensure that we have different types of client who find what they want on the islands, because the variety of the offer is great. When my children were little, we loved going to Menorca, which is a very different product to Playa de Palma."

In this regard, he speaks positively of the possibilities for the low season. "I love sports events like the Palma Marathon. Our task is to offer all kinds of new products to get new customers and make the season longer. The weather conditions are what they are. Perhaps you can't always avoid the rain, so it is important to offer alternatives to tourists if the weather is not that good."

But are the Balearics becoming too expensive, especially as there are recessionary conditions? "The fact that inflation in Spain was significantly lower than that in other European countries should not be underestimated. In the Balearics there has been a large increase in prices, yes, but the truth is that it has been greater in visitors' countries.

"It is more a question of the real value of the product rather than its price. As long as investment in the product continues and the quality of the offer is raised, customers will continue to be satisfied. I would be concerned if the quality were deteriorating, but we are not seeing anything like that. On the contrary, the tourist satisfaction rate is very high."