By Brett Gibbons

PALMA
MAJORCA'S Port of Pollensa has experienced a winter tourist boom with hundreds of extra holidaymakers heading to the resort.
Traders in the resort, on the north west coast of the island, have enjoyed an unexpected boost during the early part of winter and over the festive season, while other traditional favourites, such as Calvia hotspots Palmanova and Magalluf, have suffered extremely badly.

Kevin Park, owner of Port of Pollensa's JK Bar, commented that the influx of winter tourists was a fantastic surprise. He said many people had been staying in private apartments rather than hotel accommodation. “We had a New Year's party in the bar and there were around 100 people there who were all new faces,” he said. “I would estimate that custom in the bar is at least 20 percent up on previous years,” added Kevin. “It's not been too bad at all,” he said. “We are hoping it will get better because some of the big hotels opened and began receiving tourists this week.” Port of Pollensa's optimism was exactly the opposite of Magalluf, where traders struggled to scratch a living as Britain's major tour operators shunned the attractions on offer. Tui UK, which runs the Thomson and First Choice brands, suspended package holidays to the former winter favourites of Magalluf and Palmanova during most of the first two months of this year.

At one stage, just 70 guests were staying in a 750-bed hotel that had remained open in Magalluf.
Anxious traders are forecasting that the big UK operators will not operate at all in the region next winter.
The views of the bar boss underlined official figures which stated that tourism in the Balearics was up by 5.9 percent in January.
Figures released by tourist watchdog FRONTUR showed that the Balearics received 153'000 holidaymakers last month - two thirds of them from Germany.
Meanwhile, First Choice has seen a credit crunch-defying rise of 26 percent in bookings for its holiday village complexes. The increase, compared with the same December 26 to February 6 period the previous year, was a result of customers taking advantage of free child places and early booking offers, according to marketing director Stuart Mayo.

He said a recent advertising campaign reinforced First Choice's position as the market leader in the family complex sector. The Majorca Holiday Village is situated near Can Picafort.