AT the end of 2003, The Federation of Resort Hotels, Zontur, predicts a fall of more than 5 percent in income from this sector in comparison to the previous year. On the occasion of Zontur's General Congress, held yesterday in Madrid, the Federation's president, José Miguel Díaz Montañes, reported the results of this summer's tourist season as not having been completely satisfactory. The principal reason, clarified Díaz Montañes, is that occupancy levels have been boosted by last minute offers which meant that hotels were catering with only a week's advance notice. Although tourist establishments were between 90 and 92 percent full, reservations being made at the last moment prevented the sector from being able to make longer range predictions and forecasts. To alleviate the situation, hoteliers have proposed launching a promotional campaign that highlights best value for money for tourists; focussing not only on client markets in specific countries but also encouraging people to come to Spain for a variety of reasons. Díaz Montañes pointed to the importance of the Q logo which is the Spanish tourist industry's mark of excellence in quality, awarded not just for material superiority but also for client satisfaction. Another proposal by Zontur concerned access to up to the minute information regarding the tourist industry. Information is power and this would enable competitive negotiations with tour operators added Díaz Montañes, Looking at the industry as a whole in Spain, it has been similar or better than last year, except in Catalonia where, unlike the previous year, there were not many tourists out on the roads. In the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura experienced a rise of 9.13 percent in numbers of tourists visiting its shores. Germany and the United Kingdom remain at the forefront of its client markets; on Lanzarote, the month of July witnessed a rise of 15.92 percent in the number of visitors, and 2 percent in August. Tenerife had a hotel occupancy rate of 71 percent in July and 88 percent in August, 1.9 percent more than at the same time the previous year.
Regarding the Balearic Islands, on Majorca, hotel occupancy in July stood at 92 percent, 1.7 percent more than in July 2002, whilst in August, the occupancy level of 92.4 percent was 2.7 percent higher than the same month last year. In July, 33.21 percent of holiday clients on Majorca were German and 23.34 percent were British, figures which were similar to those of summer 2002; August witnessed 31.37 percent of Majorca's tourists being German and 27.9 percent being British. On Minorca, occupancy levels were acceptable, higher than expected but there were more tourists with less money, principally Spanish visitors whose numbers compensated for the falling numbers of Germans and Britons; the average occupation level until August was 77.33 percent, some 5 percent more than the past year. On Ibiza, occupany levels stood at 93 percent and on Formentera at 95.96 percent, 0.5 and 0.1 percent higher than the previous year, respectively. The outlook for September is for a fall of 1.1 percent in occupancy levels on Ibiza and of 5.5 percent on Formentera. Valencia enjoyed an occupancy level of 91 percent and better results than the previous year; in Castellón and Murcia, occupancy has been about 85 percent (78.8% in July and 91.6% in August). On the Costa del Sol, average occupation in July stood at 88.4 percent and in August at 95.7 percent; in September, the occupancy level of 82.84% meant a fall of 3 points in respect to the same month of 2002. In Catalonia, on the Costa Dorada, occupancy levels fell some 4 percent in June and July, compensated by the increase enjoyed in August, 5 percent higher than 2002; in Maresme and Gerona, levels fell 5 percent. Zontur's president added that Turespaña's annual budget for the sector is 26 million euros, an amount that he considers to be insufficient because investment should be correlative to the importance of a sector and he pointed out that tourism in Spain represents 12 percent of the gross national product.
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