STAFF REPORTER THE Balearic Islands are less attractive to foreign tourists as the islands are becoming overcrowed and over-built, according to a warning yesterday from the Alliance for Excellence in Tourism (Exceltur).

In a paper “2004 balance sheet and outlook for 2005”, Exceltur explains that this new phenomenon is increasing “all the time at a faster pace”, and it mostly points the finger towards those regions on the Spanish Mediterranean coastline and the corresponding islands.

Exceltur confirms these regions are precisely where a large proportion of tourists staying overnight are, in many cases, “beginning to feel that these mature destinations are becoming over-built, and they feel that they have a general perception of being busy and overcrowded”. As a result tourists are spending fewer days and are visiting these regions less frequently.

The following areas are allegedly finding themselves in this situation; some areas of Costa del Sol and Tropical Cost of Andalucia, some areas of Majorca and Ibiza, Gran Canaria and Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Costa Brava, Costa Dorada, Costa Blanca and Costa Cálida in Murcia.

In many of the cases, the unfavourable effects in 2004 were lessened “thanks to certain offers and discounts made available to tourists after a request was made by the Spanish tourism market”. However, this alone has not been able to completely compensate for the financial losses that have resulted from a fall in foreign tourists.

For these reasons, Exceltur considers that the situation is “urgent” and before regions experience “more stronger declines in tourism”, which will have consecuences for employment, they need to develop “strategical repositioning” projects that will redevelop areas. In this way, tourists will be offered different types of holiday that will be well worth the cost.

The report highlights the first pilot project that was finally agreed last December to renovate parts of Majorca and to end it being classified as a mature tourist destination (e.g. Playa de Palma).