Staff Reporter
THE heads of several of the most important tourist organisations in Spain, members of the Excellence in Tourism Alliance (Exceltur): Barceló, Sol Meliá, Hoteles Fiesta, Husa e Iberia, amongst others, confirmed yesterday that there was evidence of a “definite” recovery in the sector and that they were able to look forward optimistically to the future. Nevertheless, the founding president of Fiesta Hotels and vice-president of Exceltur, Abel Matutes, believed that “profitability is still quite a bit lower than previous years”. According to Matutes, Spain “clearly performed better” than other Mediterranean and central European countries this season because it was able to “continue producing an excess of offers in holiday destinations”. The executive vice-president of Sol Meliá, Sebastián Escarrer, agreed with Matutes by pointing out that there had been “a significant recovery in nearly all companies in the tourist sector” from April onwards, a month when business “touched the bottom of the barrel”. Regarding the possibility of launching new opportunities for business acquisition amongst companies in the tourist industry, Escarrer said that “we are still a long way away from assessing the whole sector correctly. As such, there are opportunities for those companies in a stronger position to take the initiative of making a bid for others who are less well placed.” With regard to the Balearics, Matutes agreed that “we can now think in terms of looking optimistically to the future. Business would start to look particularly favourable if the support we have asked for from the new Balearic government is put into practice.” Amongst the most important measures, Matutes quoted improving the quality of the package on offer to the tourist, development of infrastructure, and the political decision to invest in bringing a higher standard of tourism to the islands through means of alternative holidays based on, for example, golf or sailing. “The lines that the new Balearic government has adopted are clearly those with which we identify and which we understand needs to be done” said Matutes. “I fully concur with all the decisions that have been taken up to now” he added.
According to Matutes, the German market “has to be given special attention”, particularly after “a member of the previous Balearic government” declared that the Islands had 30 or 40 percent too many tourists of that nationality, words which have had ”a devastating effect” for the tourist sector in the region, he added.

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