Staff Reporter

PALMA
BRITISH and German tour operators are pressuring Balearic hotels, especially those on Majorca, to discount their prices by up to 10 percent to encourage early bookings for July and August.

These tour operators are being led by the two biggest, TUI Travel and Thomas Cook.
However, the hoteliers on all the islands are rejecting discounts for early bookings “because we know perfectly well that July and August are going to be historic as far as hotel occupation is concerned, and we don't need any incentives to increase bookings. “If there is a dip in the British and German markets, there is always the rest of the alternative markets, such as Italy, Scandinavia and central Europe, where people will pay the brochure price for their holiday in Majorca”, said sources from the Majorcan Hoteliers Federation.

This attitude is supported by the number of applications for flight “slots” which AENA (the Spanish Airports Authority) is receiving for Palma, Mahon and Ibiza airports for this summer, with average increases of up to five percent in comparison with last year.

Also, there have been historic levels of reservations via the internet for this summer, with percentage increases of above 10 percent for the majority of Balearic hotels.

As an example, there has been a great increase in visits to the website illesbalears.es this year. The growth of these visits has been considerable “which demonstrates that individual tourism is continuing to grow and tourist demand is taking other forms than the traditional package holiday sold by the tour operators” said sources at the Balearic Ministry for Tourism.

The Balearic hotel area which has already started, in general, to reject the pressures of the tour operators is Cala D'Or, which has served as an example for the rest of the holiday areas on the islands.

The development of the tourist season, at the moment, is going very well, fulfilling all the predictions. The Playa de Palma is the area which is recording the most hotel occupation for May, with some hotels having to put tourists up in other hotels because of overbooking.

This May will be better than 2006 and June, thanks to discounts and offers, will be as good as last year on all the islands.
The hoteliers are saying that it will be a most profitable season.

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