Staff Reporter CITIZENS of the Balearic Islands can only gain access to holidays in their own archipelago in high season and at affordable prices, if the key client markets who traditionally visit Majorca in the summer months fail to do so.

Tourist establishments set aside quotas of beds over and above their capacity with European and national tour operators, hoping to optimise their occupancy levels. The strategy aims to capture markets where clients will reserve longer periods of stay than those which would normally be booked by Balearic clients. Representatives from hotels, travel agents and tour operators claim that the latter are more likely to come for long weekends or short breaks. “Home-grown” tourism is a last resort for the hotel industry in the Balearics and it is only used in low or mid season, chiefly at the times when tourist establishments are registering low occupancy levels. Such organisations find it useful to throw in incentives of all kinds into newspaper and holiday brochure advertisements, including discounts and special offers. In some cases, in order to maximise demand, this reduced price can be the same that the tour operator recovers for each placement, which is lower than normal tariff due to the volume of clients that are contracted.

It is through such means that the hotel businesses aim to increase their income in low season, and at least cover their commercialisation costs which are incurred by mere fact of the establishment remaining open.

According to the Hotel Federation of Majorca and the Balearic Travel Agents' Association, this type of offer, and the overnight stays registered in Balearic hotels by Island residents during the last low season, increased significantly last winter.

The Internet
A representative on the Islands from Viajes Iberia, an agency for the Majorcan group Iberostar, nevertheless indicated that nowadays, travel agents sell holidays all over the world. He thus pointed out that local clients are just as entitled to make hotel reservations at resorts on their own islands.

In fact, the same source confirmed that right at this moment in time, Balearic citizens would have no problem in booking a stay at hotels in the archipelago for a specific period of time in June and July, albeit differently administered from the typical holiday packages purchased by overseas clients which include aircraft seats, accommodation and transfer to and from the airport.

The travel agencies which are affiliated to tourist organisations, resort to hotels and the tour opertors of the company as a first option, but in order to be able to give a full response to client requirements, they also look for last-minute offers in a centralised “on line” bucket shop on the Internet.

This system is now one means at the disposal of individual clients who are now able to “surf the Web” for their own holidays. They can access hotel reservation systems to book periods of stay, without the need for “brokerage” through the tourist industry.

The situation remains, however, that the hotel industry in the Balearics only succeeds in offering attractively priced holidays to local people when other client markets fail to “fill places”.