Hoteliers in Santa Ponsa say that this summer season has been the worst in the past ten years. The president of the Santa Ponsa Hotel Association, José Antonio Pascual, said yesterday that not only has the summer been the worst in the past decade, the winter is looking extremely poor as well. Pascual said that the slump in the number of Germans coming to Majorca has really hit the hotel sector. Thankfully, the British market has remained pretty steady because of special offers and last minute discounts, Pascual added. However, while Santa Ponsa hotels have suffered, Pascual said that the self-catering apartment market has enjoyed a busy summer. The apartments, particularly popular with the Irish market, have been full for most of the summer, he said. The winter is looking particularly bleak however. Pascual said that yesterday, just 15 per cent of Santa Ponsa's winter hotel accommodation had been booked. The winter has never been this bad, 35 to 40 per cent of hotels are for the moment staying open, but they are over three quarters empty. A record number of hotels are expected to close over the next few weeks for the winter. Two years ago the Balearic government managed to persuade more establishments to stay open, promising a winter tourism boom, but that failed to happen and last year 30 per cent more than usual cut their losses and hoteliers are expected to do the same this winter. Many will close and remain closed until Easter.