By Humphrey Carter THE first month of the winter holiday season in the Balearics has brought some cheer to the worried local tourism industry. Tourism figures for October, released yesterday, show that 827.000 overseas visitors came to the Balearics last month, 2.5 percent more than in October last year. But more importantly, while the British market posted another month-on-month rise in the number of tourists, the number of Germans rose by nearly six percent. However, between the start of the year and the start of last month, the number of visitors to the Balearics was down 0.7 percent. That may appear relatively small, but is equal to a shortfall of 70'000 holiday makers. Nevertheless, 10.6 million visitors have come to the Balearics so far this year and the decline in tourism, which was as sharp as 7.4 percent during the first ten months of 2002, has slowed down remarkably this year. The Secretary of State for Tourism and Commerce, Francisco Utrera, said yesterday that, while there has been a steady fall in tourism in the Balearics since the end of 2001, had it not been for the solid British market, the situation would have been much worse. Francisco Utrera said that the Balearics remains Britain's number one destination this year, 3.5 million British holidaymakers have come to the region this year. percent more than during the first ten months of last year. The German market is still down this year, but so far by just 1.3 percent compared to last year's 15 percent fall. Francisco Utrera also pointed his finger at an overall improvement in quality and the scrapping of the tourist tax for this late surge in tourism.



SPAIN is on course for another record tourism year.
46.7 million tourists had visited Spain by the end of October, 0.1 percent (200'000) more than during the first ten months of last year, with the important growth figures in the British and US markets. Secretary of State, Francisco Utrera, said yesterday that the Spanish tourist industry is on course for another record with more than 52 million overseas visitors coming to Spain. This year's rate of growth has however been the lowest for the past seven years, but Francisco Utrera said yesterday that global events and international instability have hampered tourism world wide. “But while the international tourist industry continues to struggle, Spain is continuing to grow,” he said.
In fact, the tourist industry has nearly wiped out Spain's deficit.
According to the Secretary of State, the industry has generated 24.926 million euros so far this year, equal to 87 percent of the trade deficit Spain has run up during the same period. This year, 14.4 million Britons, spending an average of 90 euros per day, have visited Spain, ten percent more than between January and October last year with the four most popular destinations, being the Balearics, Andalucia, Cataluña and the Canary Islands.