STAFF REPORTER

HOTELS in Palma had one of their worst occupancy rates ever last month, Marilén Pol, the President of the Majorcan Hoteliers Federation (FEHM) claimed yesterday.

City-based hotels were barely 20 percent full, said Pol whilst tourist hotels which had remained open along the Playa de Palma and in Calvia managed to reach occupancy levels of between 40 and 45 percent but only thanks to national pensioners' holidays organised by Imserso. “Bookings for hotels in Palma have nose-dived,” she said “largely due to the fact that business groups and companies aren't booking conferences, dinners and corporate entertainment to anywhere near the same extent as in the past. “To this has to be added the fact that the wildcat air traffic controllers' strike over the long holiday weekend at the start of December has made erstwhile customers nervous about making further bookings for fear of a repeat setback. “And of course, more generally, business spending is being tightly controlled due to the economic crisis that is affecting all of us,” Pol explained.
The FEHM President said that the accumulation of these circumstances had resulted in rock-bottom bookings for hoteliers in Palma. “It was a punishing situation for them at a time of year which, often as not, is unpredictable from a reservations point of view. “It has, without a shadow of a doubt, been one of the worst Decembers in recent years,” alleged Pol, furthering that income for the hoteliers didn't even cover the outlay costs of their establishments.

The only two high points for hotel bookings, she confirmed were New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, when occupancy levels reached 75 percent. Otherwise, said Pol, other days in December failed to see reservations at even 20 percent of capacity.

She acknowledged that without the Imserso pensioners' holidays, it would be impossible to keep hotels along the Playa de Palma and in Calvia open in low season.

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