By Humphrey Carter
THE Easter holiday was not as busy as last year in Majorca, but according to the latest data from the hotel sector, the summer is shaping up to be a good one especially in the resorts popular with the British.

The resorts of Magalluf, Palmanova, Alcudia, Pollensa, Santa Ponsa, Illetas and Portals Nous are all looking ahead to a hectic summer with hoteliers in Alcudia already reporting 98.5 percent occupancy for August.

Hotels in Pollensa are poised to hang up the “no vacancy” signs.
While there is still some concern about the British market where summer package holidays are not selling as briskly as usual - Magalluf and Palmanova hotels claim they are 96 per cent full in July and 97 per cent full in August.

As the Bulletin reported last week, for the first time ever, more Britons are coming to the Balearics and Spain independently than on a package holiday - so hotels are taking an increasing number of direct bookings - many of them on-line.

What is more, the big growth market for Majorca as far as the UK market is concerned is residential tourism which is slightly harder for the industry to gauge.

Nevertheless, some areas of the Balearic tourist industry are asking the local government to launch a campaign in the UK to liven up the holiday market.

However, the Balearic and Majorcan hotel federations claim they are heading for one of the best starts to the summer seasons in recent years.
When the season officially kicks off next month, hotel occupancy will be 15 percent higher than May last year.
One of the main reasons for the early surge in hotel bookings is that many of the German tour operators have been offering attractive discounts of between 10 and 15 percent to people booking early for holidays in May and June. One of the local tourism industry's biggest hurdles of the past few years has been how to get around the late booking habits in the United Kingdom and Germany.

Another reason is the recovery of the Scandinavian, Italian and Dutch markets. Majorca also appears to be back in favour with the Spanish domestic market - many Spaniards turned their backs on the Balearics when the highly controversial tourist tax was introduced.

The positive forecast has given those hoteliers who opened their establishments for Easter a welcome boost.
Occupancy was down on last year, primarily because Easter fell so early - too early for the Balearics to guarantee good weather - but should the present booking trend continue, many hotels will be full this summer.

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