By Humphrey Carter

REACTING to yesterday's reports that British holiday makers have nearly fully booked some hotels in Majorca for the month of June, the Balearic Minister for Tourism, Joana Barcelo, warned the local tourist industry against becoming complacent and letting standards slip.

The market sales figures from the Balearics' main client countries, in particular the United Kingdom, indicate a significant improvement in bookings this year and that the season should be a good one, but Barcelo said yesterday that whatever is happening in other destinations, such as Tunisia and Egypt, the Balearic tourist industry has to keep focused on the job in hand. She stressed that after three lean years, the industry still has a lot of work to do along the road to recovery. “We have to continue being competitive, improve our services and facilities and increase what we have to offer visitors,” the Minister said yesterday.
Emerging from the Friday cabinet meeting, Barcelo said that her department intends to continue pushing and promoting the Balearics despite what is happening in Tunisia and Egypt, for example. She stressed that the Balearic tourist industry has to be aware of the fact that the market can change very quickly and now that Egypt and Tunisia are returning to normal, the Balearics is going to need to keep working hard to make sure it continues to be one of the top destinations for the British this year. It was also revealed in Britain yesterday that Spain can look forward to a bumper year as Britons snub the royal wedding to head to the sun.

Travel agents are seeing up to a 35% hike in bookings for Easter as customers take advantage of the extra bank holiday for the royal wedding and cheaper prices than for summer breaks.

Travel Counsellors reported a 30% hike in bookings taken in January for travel between April 22 and May 6. “We are certainly seeing a shift back to European destinations as sterling gains against the euro, with prices in Spain and the islands at a record three-year low, making it much more affordable,” said managing director Steve Byrne.