by Staff Reporter
THE hotels are full and new bookings are being turned away as Majorca registers maximum occupancy levels in high season.
And this state of affairs is expected to continue until the middle of September, thanks to reduced prices and special offers.
Tour operators TUI, Thomas Cook and LTU Turistik have all said that up until the middle of September, reduced prices and last minute offers have ensured “full house”. The companies agree that September will close with higher occupancy levels than those witnessed in 2002. The German company TUI said that bookings for September was at the moment on par with last year but due to the tendency this year to make reservations at the last moment, numbers may swell to supercede those of 2002. Thomas Cook, whose schedule remains almost as pressured as it has been for August this year, warned that a part of its client base is holding off making decisions about purchasing a late summer holiday in order to wait and see what discounts are offered at different destinations. The company gave a sharp reminder that “the Balearics are in crisis” and asked hoteliers to apply maximum discounts to allow the tour operators to fill “the great quantity of airline seats that they still have to sell”. LTU Turistik confirmed that 70 per cent of the hotels with which they have agreements are applying discounts for September and indeed offers went out on the market three weeks ago. The German company forecast occupancy levels to be at nearly 100 per cent during the first two weeks of September although without the “pressure” of the month of August. Aviba, the Balearic travel agents association, also forecast occupancy levels of nearly 100 per cent, as a general rule, for what remains of August. It anticipates September being a good month as well as one in which the buying power of the client will take priority over hotel occupancy levels. The association calculates a 5 per cent increase in clients over and above last year. But hoteliers will not make their fortunes this month as the high levels of occupancy, which in some cases have soared to 110 percent due to overbooking, will not result in increased profits. Hoteliers and tour operators have been obliged throughout the season to lower prices in order to boost sales. The knock-on effect was the avalanche of last-minute bookings that are currently filling Majorca's hotels. This situation has provoked occasional problems of overbooking in some establishments. Disappointed clients are being offered alternatives of higher grade accommodation in other locations, combined with compensation in the form of excursions, free hire cars, bottles of champagne, changes from half to full board, amongst others. In spite of current high occupancy levels, businesses are being cautious about how the summer will finish. The president of the Hoteliers' Association, Pere Cañellas, has warned of a slump in bookings coinciding with the end of August and the beginning of September, despite the claims of tour operators. Nevertheless, he agreed that there is still time for recovery. The president of Palma Bay's Hoteliers' Association, Jordi Cabrer, indicated that occupancy levels for the first two weeks of September, currently supercede at some points, those registered in 2002.

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