Although the winter season has got off to a poor start, with tourism figures for last month, the first month of low season, showing a fall in traffic of 5.4 percent in comparison to November 1999, the British holiday market could save the Balearic's blushes over the winter. Of the three islands, Majorca registered the largest slump last month with a fall of 6.2 percent (12'302) in the number of tourists with Ibiza reporting a drop of 2.9 percent - only Minorca registered an increase of passengers of 12 percent. The decline in the German market has had the biggest affect on the negative flow of tourists down 12.1 percent last month which is equivalent to 8'622 less tourists on top of 2'621, 3.2 percent, less domestic tourists from the mainland but the British market posted an increase last month and managed to compensate for half of the decrease. In November 5'660 more British tourists came to the Balearics than during November 1999, an increase of 13.7 percent. Looking at the global market picture for November, 38.68 percent of tourists to the region were Spanish, 30.39 German, 22.82 British and the remaining 8.11 from other countries. The November increase in the British market is however characteristic of the figures for UK tourists since the start of the year. According to figures released by the Balearic Ministry for Tourism, 10'600'716 tourists visited the Balearics this year, 0.1 percent, 7'906, less than in 1999 and it has been the Majorcan market which has shown the largest decline of 1.7 percent - both Ibiza and Minorca have enjoyed a steady increase, 49'506 more tourists in the case of Minorca and 77'230 for Ibiza. But while airport passenger figures conflict with the figure, mainly because every passenger is counted arriving and leaving, the number of German passengers gives an artificial appearance of the German tourist industry in the Balearics this year. Many may be hopping on and off planes, but this year the number of German tourists to the Balearics have dropped by 1.5 percent which is equivalent to 59'202 people and the decline is forecast to continue over the next few years. Fortunately for the Balearic tourist industry, the loyal British market this year more than compensated for the German decline. Over the course of this year, the number of British tourists has increased by 104'456 or 3.1 percent in comparison to the record breaking year of 1999 and the domestic Spanish market also posted an increase of 6.1 percent, equivalent to 66'941 people, so for the Ministry for Tourism the German slump went unnoticed, although it has not gone unnoticed by the predominantly German tourist resorts.


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