It seems that tourism numbers are not only as good as they were in 2019 but increasing. | J. MORA

This week has been the World Travel Market in London. It’s one of the three biggest tourist fairs that are important for tourism here in Mallorca. The other two are Fitur in Madrid from the 24th to the 28th of January and ATB in Berlin from the 5th to the 7th of March. All three cover the three main source markets to the island, Germany, the UK and of course Spain.

2024 will see us enter our third year after the Covid pandemic and it seems that tourism numbers are not only as good as they were in 2019 but increasing which is good news for our islands biggest industry. It also seems that although the the three main source markets mentioned above are still doing well, we are seeing more and more visitors from other countries.

This was the first travel market for our new Government here in the Balearics and from what I’ve seen and heard so far, this administration seem to be more tourist friendly than the last one. They haven’t has a lot of time to prepare fully as they only took over in July but I like what I’m hearing. I know that sound bites are all well and good and the proof in the pudding is in the eating. But at least they’re making the right noises.

You may remember last year the then head of tourism Lucia Escribano allegedly said at the World Travel Market “We are not interested in having the budget tourists from the UK, we don’t care if they go elsewhere to Greece and Turkey.” She said she was misquoted and that she was talking about the fact that they wanted more people in the low season and not in the high season. But it was a fact that they said “we are not interested in promoting Mallorca in the summer”.

This of course was seized upon by the UK tabloids and it turned into a very negative story. If tourism is your number one industry then you must be promoting it as much as you can and all year round. Responsible Tourism and relieving saturation in the high season seems to be the plan going forward but as I’ve said before next season will be the first test.

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I have been lucky enough to interview two of the people who will be heavily involved in this. Maria Frontera Is the President of the Mallorca hotels federation and comes from a tourist background. She worked for TUI and I first met her when she was running her family’s hotel in Puerto Soller. I personally think she’d make a great Tourism Minister but I’m not sure of her political ambitions and I’m sure the hotel Federation wouldn’t like to lose her.

Juan Antonio Amengual is the new Mayor of Calvia and as a former director of hotels he has an extensive history in the World of tourism. He has said he wants change the law of excesses and wants to promote Calvia as a year round destination.

As I said above it is a little early to judge right now and next year will be the gauge but the plans are good. I did speak to the hotel association of Magalluf and Palmanova to find out how many hotels were remaining open during this winter. Of the 86 hotels they have listed, disappointingly only 4 remain open. They are the Fergus Style Palma Nova, the Elba Sunset Mallorca, the Aparthotel Vistasol and the apartments Roc Portonova. Magaluf has become a ghost town but there is a little more life in Palmanova. When I first arrived in Mallorca in 1990 both resorts were thriving in the winter and it’s sad to see it like this. Friends of mine were in Benidorm last weekend and of course it was rocking. There’s no reason why that can’t be the same here.

I looked at the flight situation and that will also need improving. The north of the UK has always struggled but even down south the service isn’t great. There’s a daily easyJet flight from Gatwick and a daily Ryanair flight from Stansted. Easyjet have a flight from Luton 3 times a week and BA have a daily service that seems to change between Gatwick, Heathrow and London City depending on the day.
Lots of work ahead but hopefully we’re moving in the right direction.

Take care everybody and enjoy your weekend!