The Balearic Ministry for Tourism has a £1.8 million war chest for next year with improving quality and creating a more varied holiday market the two main aims. Tourism Minister Celesti Alomar said yesterday that he would like to consolidate the package holiday market and increase the number of visitors to the islands off season. The Ministry for Tourism's budget for 2002 has been upped by nearly eight per cent and Alomar knows that, faced with an uncertain industry, the money will have to be used wisely. Alomar said that at the moment, supply is far greater than demand in the post-September 11 tourism industry and that the Balearics has got to make sure the level of quality on offer is high and that the region provides good value for money. The Minister does not want to see jittery hoteliers slashing the prices. Alomar is adamant that there is no sense of “crisis” in the Balearic tourist industry. He believes that this year has been one of the best years for tourism, backing up his argument with claims that the tourist industry is finally decentralising and high season numbers are steady, while the number of low season visitors is on the rise. With the global industry having to adapt to a new market, not only because of September 11, but also because of the introduction of the single currency on January 1, the Balearic government has been helping small businesses in the tourist industry prepare for the new era and become more competitive. The bulk of next year's budget will be spent on overseas promotional campaigns which are handled by Ibatur, the Balearic Institute for Tourism Promotions. But in order to maintain momentum in the Balearics' two key markets, the United Kingdom and Germany, two new offices are to be opened, one in London and the other in Berlin. Alomar wants to see the Balearics maintain its position as a European market leader. Alomar, wisely, made no presumptions about Balearic tourism surviving on the back of instability in the Eastern Mediterranean, although the latest reports from some of the Balearics' competitors suggest that the “aggressive” promotional campaigns being waged to bolster Eastern Mediterranean tourism are not working. Tourism arrivals to Cyprus have fallen some 10 percent short of the 2001 target due to the global slump. Autumn and winter tourism to the holiday island has slumped in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States. The attacks occurred as the busy summer season was winding down. Based on recent information from Europe and Britain, tourism arrivals for this year would settle at 2.7 million, short of the three million target. The biggest drop was in visitors from the UK, the island's largest tourism market, accounting for over half of the overall arrivals, while the British tourism in the Balearics has already showed signs of recovering. In Israel, tourist figures fell in October to their lowest monthly level since August 1991 as the effect of a one-year Palestinian uprising continues to be felt along with the current global crisis.


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