STAFF REPORTER

THE Spanish Tourist Board said this week that the level of holiday bookings for the Balearics this coming summer is looking very promising.
The news was confirmed in Palma by representatives of Spain's tourism offices (OETs) in Berlin, Vienna and Stockholm who were attending conferences for key client markets organised by the Balearic Hotel Federation and the Spanish Tourist Board.

Alvaro Blanco, Assistant Director of the Tourist Board explained that economic growth after emergence from the recession in key client countries, particularly Germany and Great Britain has stabilised and that consumer spending is starting to pick up.

Blanco claimed it was still a bit too soon to make assumptions but that “people are not still thinking that they can't go away on holiday because of the crisis.” We're moving ahead with promotional strategy which is going to focus on the end user, he said. The Balearics won't suffer losses this season because the tour operators will not be dropping their quotas in the Islands this summer, Blanco added.

The representatives of Spain's tourism offices in northern Europe said that the long drawn out winter “is a factor which is encouraging people to think about a holiday in the sun.” This was particularly the case, they claimed, in respect of families who were already planning their summer breaks when the school term was at an end.

Manuel Bütler, representing Berlin, said that there are more German people heading to the Balearics during the summer season this year than there were in 2009. “We're aware of recovery, but last-minute bookings will have a huge impact on success rates,” said Bütler.

Miguel Nombela from Stockholm said that the number of people coming from Scandinavian countries to the Balearics, particularly to Majorca, will increase slightly because of better air links. Felix de Paz from Vienna said that current forecasts are that there is going to be an increase in the number of Czechs holidaying on Majorca and Ibiza, visitor numbers from Slovakia will remain the same and that the Balearics is being firmly established as a number one holiday destination for Hungarians.

Balearic hoteliers meanwhile are anxiously waiting to see the results from the Travel Fair in Berlin which is scheduled for 10th to 14th March. It will not be until then that they will know the tour operators' forecasts for bookings for each of the islands.