AN opportunity missed? It wasn't so long ago that hundreds of British pensioners would escape the cold in Britain and head to hotels on Mallorca.

In fact, there were hotels on the island which specialised in this type of tourism. Long-term packages on half board were readily available. I remember being told by one British couple that it was cheaper to spend three months in Mallorca than putting the heating on in Britain. Obviously, this is a slight exaggeration. With much higher fuel bills and Spain is once again looking to attract so-called thermal tourism.

Some holiday provinces on the mainland have really got their act together. Mallorca, unfortunately, appears to be missing out, which is a shame. Curiously, Spanish pensioners do come to the island during the winter on state-funded holidays which help keep hotels open. In most cases they pay “peanuts” for their stay. This programme could surely be extended to include tourists from other parts of Europe, even if they were paying a bit more. As I have said on numerous occasions, Mallorca has a golden opportunity to become a major winter holiday destination; 300 days of sunshine a year rather sums it all up.

However, winter tourism is not beach tourism, so the island must think outside the box and come up with new ideas. Long-term holidaymakers over the winter could perhaps be the answer.