By Humphrey Carter
THE Balearics is one of the top destinations for Britons getting away for this May bank Holiday weekend and with the Pound having hit a seventh-month high against the Euro it is a good time to come.

With the dreaded airport ground staff strike having been called off less than 36 hours before it was due to start, the summer season is going to kick off with a bang this weekend.

Over the next few days, Palma'S Son San Joan airport is going to handle nearly 180'000 people, down on the same time last year mainly because Easter fell much earlier this year.

The latest reports from the Balearic tourism authorities is that visitors numbers and spending is already up this year. Yesterday the Bulletin was contacted by a number of people who were finding it impossible to book a flight out to the Balearics this weekend. Only a few weeks ago, the UK's main charter airlines announced that because of the sudden surge in demand for flight seats and holidays over the past month, many of the leading tour operators are having to increase their summer flights schedules and lay on more aircraft to meet demand for the Balearics.

But the big growth market is residential tourism.
A report published by Frank Knight yesterday concludes that over the next five years, residential tourism in Spain is going to grow at least ten percent.

This year is going to be another “active” year for the international property market in Spain with the British the main driving force behind the market.

According to Frank Knight, many Britons are deciding to invest their money in an overseas property because of the continual tax hikes over the past decade. The Labour government stands accused of having put taxes up 66 times. Home investment is a secure alternative to a pension plan.

Over the past ten years, the number of Britons buying an overseas second home grew by ten percent and Frank Knight have found no signs of a drop off in pace.

What is more, British second home owners in Spain are a key market for the domestic real estate market as many have since sold up and either opted for larger property or moved to a different part of Spain.

The two big growth areas are Marbella and Majorca where Frank Knight believes prices should remain stable despite a slow down in development, especially in Majorca.

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