Palma.—Last minute holiday bookings from key European client countries throughout this year's season, including those in September and October have resulted in Majorca registering historic numbers of tourists and visitors this year, the Majorcan Hoteliers' Federation (FEHM)said yesterday .

Added to this success, said the FEHM, is the fact that hotel occupancy levels have been higher than last year, with better prices and profit ratios. “Overall,” said the FEHM, “the tourist season has been pretty good.” The President of FEHM, Inmaculada de Benito said that last minute sales and the good weather have combined “to create a surge in bookings at the end of the season.” She said that the upturn in sales, particularly demand for reservations from the German, Dutch, Irish, Nordic, Russian and especially British markets, has prompted some resorts in the island to extend the season right to the end of October.

Although the FEHM acknowledged that profitability has risen in comparison with recent years, success has been concentrated into four months. However, considering that there were “concerns” about the success of this year's season earlier in the year, business has now improved beyond all expectations, de Benito claimed.

Bad news
The bad news, however, said de Benito is that the tourist season is becoming increasingly short and that business in the low season is declining.
Although custom this year has been very positive from foreign markets, it has not been the case with national tourism. The FEHM has registered an accumulated 50 percent downturn in the number of Spanish tourists visiting the island between this year and last.

The loss has apparently made itself felt in the so-called complementary offer of bars, restaurants, cafeterias and other tourist businesses in the island's resorts. “This decline in national tourism, which is clearly a knock-on effect of the national crisis,” said de Benito “doesn't look as though it's going to recover in the short term.” Meanwhile, due to high holiday demand, Palma airport is experiencing three consecutive months of historic passenger numbers.