By Lois Jones

LAST April, the Balearics recorded an occupancy rate of 36.4 per cent of the total number of places offered in rural tourism, the highest for any region in Spain, according to a report issued yesterday by the National Institute of Statistics. In line with these figures, it can be seen that, 24 per cent of rural tourism places were taken up during the month of April, a figure rising to 40.6 per cent over the weekends. At 36.4 per cent, the scale of occupancy was highest in the Balearics, but over the weekends, the Spanish mainland region of Navarre showed a higher occupancy rate with 53.5 per cent followed by Madrid at 52.2 per cent. According to the same source, overnight stays in establishments catering for rural tourism grew 10 per cent during the months of March and April 2003 when compared with the same period in 2002.

In April 2003, figures for overnight stays grew 87.6 per cent with respect to the same period of the previous year due to the fact that this year, Easter was celebrated in April and last year it fell in March. In April 2003, the total figure for overnight stays in rural tourism was 436'359, 371'492 of which were taken up by Spanisards; 59'827 by visitors from the European Union and 5'040 visitors from the rest of the world. Spanish residents filled half the overnight stay places in April, principally people travelling from Madrid 24.6 per cent, followed by tourists from Catalonia 16.4 per cent. People coming from the Community of Valencia made up 15.8 per cent of the overnight stays.
A further 11 per cent came from the Basque Country; from Castilla and León 5.9 per cent; from Galicia 5.5 per cent and Andalucia - 3.7 per cent.
Out of the foreigners, 48.3 per cent of overnight stays places were taken by German visitors; 20.9 per cent from the United Kingdom; 10.8 per cent from France; 5.2 per cent from the Netherlands and 2.4 per cent from Portugal.

Castilla and León, Catalonia and the Community of Valencia made up 35 per cent of overnight stays in April.
The distribution of overnight stays of Spanish travellers was 19.6 per cent for Castilla and León; 11.1 per cent for Catalonia; 8.4 per cent for the Community of Valencia; 7.3 per cent for Aragón; 7 per cent for Castilla La Mancha and for Cantabria, respectively and 6.2 per cent for Galicia The figure for overnight stays by foreign visitors was 29.8 per cent for the Balearics; 28.4 per cent for the Canary Islands; 14.9 per cent for Andalucia; 5.9 per cent for Catalonia and 3 per cent for Aragon.

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