Foreign tourist arrivals in June were just 100,000 fewer than in 2019. | Teresa Ayuga

A week or so ago, the president of the CEHAT Spanish confederation of hotel associations, Jorge Marichal, observed that there had been "a slowdown in last-minute bookings, because people now have tighter budgets".

Given the increased cost of living, this sounded understandable, and yet according to one online travel agency, Destinia, last-minute reservations for Spanish destinations are shooting up. Foreign demand is continuing to rise, while last-minute bookings by the national market have gone from 20% last year to 46% this year.

The Mallorca Hoteliers Federation has said that average hotel occupancy in July was 93% (this is a very healthy occupancy for July) and that it anticipates a similar rate in August (also healthy). This anticipation is based on known sales and forecasted last-minute sales. The federation therefore appears to be more in the Destinia camp rather than CEHAT's, albeit that the federation is a CEHAT member.

Looking beyond the summer, Destinia's CEO, Ricardo Fernández, has said that the coming months will be "almost as good" as 2019. He accepts that profitability will be down because of inflation, but bookings won't be. While this isn't of particular interest for Mallorca after October, it is for those Spanish regions that attract good numbers of winter tourists - the Canaries being the number one.

Yet there have been any number of voices who have expressed their concerns about what will happen after the summer season, and they include Sr. Marichal, who is also the president of the Tenerife hoteliers. Not so long ago he advised everyone to "enjoy" the summer, as prospects for autumn onwards weren't that great.

Into 2023, the research division of BBVA bank, one of Spain's principal sources for economic forecasting, has revised downwards its prediction for economic growth in the Balearics. This was five per cent, it is now 3.5%. A reason for this is "a possible fall in demand for tourist services".

Far be it from me to take issue with an entity as reputable as BBVA Research, but we could perhaps do with something more definitive than a "possible fall". There again, BBVA may well be right in hedging its bets. Even the best of forecasters don't get things right, as of course we know from this summer. Few were the number who foresaw a season in Mallorca and the Balearics getting close to 2019.

The most recent figures for tourist arrivals, June's, indicated that there were 1,958,645 foreign tourists. These were just over 100,000 fewer than in June 2019, but given the circumstances of the past two years, this is a shortfall we can surely live with. The Balearic tourism minister, Iago Negueruela, can, as he was pleased to point out that spending was up. And it was, by 30 million euros, which may of course have had something to do with inflation, but that's another matter.

We are fed a constant diet of what are often conflicting messages about tourism. Where Destinia is concerned, it is only the one OTA, but its message - last-minute shooting up - was in stark contrast to the Marichal slowdown. And so you wonder who or what to believe. Or maybe it would be better to ignore all of the predictions until there are firm figures to go by.

More often than not, these figures are better than forecast, reflecting the fact that tourism is remarkably resilient. The bounce-back this summer really shouldn't have come as any great surprise. Covid was an abrupt shock, but recovery has been fast and in contrast to the more gradual recoveries that were made after different types of shock - the oil crisis of 1973 and the more recent financial crisis. But recoveries there always are. And for current-day tourism, there is a general view that a holiday is a necessary consumer purchase. If so, this merely reinforces the resilience.

Which isn't to say that inflation, or God knows what else for that matter, might not dent tourism in 2023. I don't know and nor do BBVA - they only possibly know.