By Humphrey Carter
THE Balearics last week launched a four million pound mass-publicity campaign in Britain which this week spreads across Europe.
The campaign kicked off in Britain last week because the Balearic Ministry for Tourism wants to catch the last minute holiday bookers on the eve of the start of the summer season. Over the next few days the promotional drive will spread to France, Germany, Italy and Scandinavia as Ibatur, the Balearic department for tourism promotion, makes its move to consolidate the Balearics' position as Britain's most popular summer destination. It also wants to increase its market share in Europe's main countries.

The four million pound “Smile you are in Majorca, Ibiza or Minorca” campaign involves television, radio and print advertising as well as on the Underground in London.

A quarter of the entire European promotional budgets, one million pounds, is being spent in the UK, and tv advertisements are already running on nearly all of the satellite travel channels already.

The Spanish tourism office in London has forecast an increase in the number of British holidaymakers coming to the Balearics this year. The tourism authorities in Palma quite simply want to “clean up” and they hope that this last minute advertising wave will encourage the “undecided” to book a Balearic summer holiday.

Earlier this month at the Steps Spanish travel fair in London, British tour operators said that they are going to have to increase charter flights and capacity to meet demand to the Balearics this summer.

Now that the main tour operators have joined to the low-cost airline market and are offering holiday “packages” which the clients put together themselves, they have found they are able to meet the needs of a much larger and changing market.

Last year, for the first time ever, more Britons came independently to Spain than on a package holiday and that is a trend which is going to change the future of the holiday industry.

What is more, more and more Britons are making their travel arrangements on line.
These are all issues the Balearic ministry for tourism has urged the market to get to grips with while it goes about its business of promoting the Balearics as widely and effectively as possible.

Nevertheless, despite concern in the hotel industry about the residential and independent tourism, the latest reports from the Majorcan hotel sector and Balearic travel agents, is that it is poised for one of the best starts to the summer season in recent years with booking 10% to 15% up on the start of May last year. Ibatur boss Eduardo Gamero said yesterday that this latest European campaign will be promoting everything the Balearics has to offer from golf to cycling and culture to agro tourism, sun and sand.

He also revealed that the campaign will probably run throughout the summer until the end of October.
Gamero said that bookings for the Balearics were good in February and March, “but they need a little boost” and the Balearics has some tough competition this year.

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