For the first time in years, British tourists have outnumbered their German counterparts as the loyal British market manages to hold its own in the Balearics while the Germans continue to fall away. The latest set of airport passenger figures for last month is further evidence that there has been a late surge in post-World Cup failure bookings in the UK where a growing number of people are fed up with the poor weather. Last month, Palma's Son San Joan airport handled just over two million passengers, 2.175.495, a decline of 7.5 per cent compared to June last year. However, the number of passengers from the United Kingdom rose slightly to 704.697, outnumbering the 647.316 Germans. In fact 6.159 more Britons came to Majorca last month than during June last year. By contrast, 140.438 less Germans flew to the island and, since the start of the year, half a million less Germans have come to Majorca, while the British market has shown a slight increase of 593. The British tourism market is expected to continue dominating Majorca and show further increases for July. The dismal British summer has provided a welcome bonus for travel firms with a last-minute surge in bookings from people desperate to escape the gloomy weather. British tour operators who had over a million summer holidays hanging around their necks last month, have suddenly seen the market come alive with last minute bookers. All tour firms have reported a marked increase in demand for holidays to popular destinations, such as Greece, Spain and Turkey. Tour operators are also pleased that the sudden surge in demand has enabled them to start gradually installing some order in the market with regards to holiday prices. This summer, package holiday prices hit record lows in the UK, as low as £25 at the start of last month, but now the market and prices are returning to reality. Industry sources have said that there are a similar amount of holidays left unsold as this time last year and sources for Thomas Cook in Majorca said yesterday that it is pretty much business as usual. Looking at the global picture for the Balearics however, it is unlikely though that the British market will be able to save the summer season this year. Not only is the slump in the German market far too great to compensate for, the French market has fallen away heavily and so too has the domestic Spanish market. The number of Spanish passengers at Palma airport has fallen every month this year. The number of Italian visitors however rose by 55.44 per cent last month. Obviously with the drop in passengers, air traffic in Palma fell by six per cent last month.


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