Fall in British and German tourismPALMA airport passenger figures for March were down six per cent on last year with the number of Germans down again by a further 10.62 per cent and the British 11.47 per cent. The Spanish were up nearly six per cent. Spanish airport authority AENA reported yesterday that while the 1.061.808 passengers handled by Palma airport last month was a 6.4 per cent decline on March last year, overall, passengers figures at Spanish airports were down just 0.7 per cent. Since the start of the year however, there has been a near four per cent rise in British passengers using Palma airport while the German market is down a similar amount. The bar, restaurant and souvenir shop sector yesterday claimed that business is 15 per cent down on Easter last year.
Secretary general of the Association of Restaurateurs, Antoni Mas, said yesterday that, having spoken to many of the 2.4500 members of the association, nearly 90 per cent are open for business, but the majority have complained that trade is down. Mas said that the only area which should do well over Easter is Palma, for the resorts, the holiday period looks bleak.
His association has been accused of hiking prices, damaging the island's image, but Mas denied the claims yesterday, explaining that the low prices visitors are paying for their package holidays, creates a false impression of the cost of living in Majorca. If a tourist has paid a discount price for a half-board package holiday, if he or she decides to go out for dinner, for example, they are going to notice a sharp difference in price, but that's not the restaurant's fault, it's because the hotels are slashing their prices, he said. Mas added that trade was down 25 per cent last month but it looks like business will improve slightly over Easter.
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