Leading United Kingdom and global tour operator Airtours has completed the purchase of 50 percent of the Palma-based Spanish hotel chain Hotetur Club for a cash payment of £14.4 million and the issue of 5'632'899 new ordinary shares in Airtours Plc to Hotetur's holding company Teinver. With the shares valued at £14.4 million, the complete cost of Airtours's latest move deeper into the Spanish hotel sector is £28.8 million and sees the tour operator further increasing its direct involvement in its operations in Spain, in particular Majorca and other key destinations. Airtours and Hotetur started co-operating together with the purchase of Europe's largest tourist complex, the Bellevue, in Alcudia. Hotetur was contracted to manage the resort in Alcudia following the completion of the purchase in January. Hotetur was founded in 1991 by Gerado Diaz and Gonzalo Pascual who have interests in other Spanish travel related companies including the Palma-based airline Spanair and the travel agency Viajes Marsans. Hotetur has grown rapidly over the past nine years and now owns 19 hotels in Majorca, Lanzarote, Cuba and the Dominican Republic providing nearly 3'300 rooms and apartments. Airtours now operates a portfolio of 93 hotels with 48'000 beds (20'000 rooms) and of the 93 hotels, 53 are located in Spanish resorts, consolidating Airtours' position as one of the leading leisure hotel operators in the Western Mediterranean. Chairman of Airtours, David Crossland, said yesterday this transaction furthers our strategy of expanding our long term access to quality hotel capacity and securing accommodation in key destinations. Securing such accommodation continues to be increasingly important for the long term success of major tour operators.