It appears that more people are getting away from the Balearics this Christmas and New Year than those coming to spend their festive holidays on the islands. Despite Spanish airlines having put their air fares up by as much as seven per cent over the holidays a record 2'500 Balearics residents are taking off for a festive break, but Palma airport bosses said yesterday that arriving passenger figures over the next week are down by nine percent on last year and with London airports their busiest for years, where are people going for Christmas and New Year? Between now and December 28, 140'000 passengers will use Palma airport - 2'500 of those leaving. According to a spokesperson for travel agent association AVIBA, last minute flight seats are few and far between. The busiest routes are those to the mainland but this year Rome, Paris and Vienna are proving hugely popular destinations for the Balearic residents but so too are long haul destinations such as the Maldives, Mauritius and the Seychelles, but for the latter there are still some last minute deals to be found. Despite the air fare hikes, people have not been deterred from travelling. The prices offer much more value for money than last year when the travel industry completely misjudged the situation and tried to cash in on the so-called millennium fever. But, everybody stayed at home and this year they are eager to get away.¡ The few hotels which are open over Christmas and New Year in the Balearics are just over half full and are the fourth busiest in Spain.

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