STAFF REPORTER POLLENSA is the most popular residential holiday destination on Majorca, according to a study undertaken last year by the Balearic University at Palma airport.

The report put the number of visitors arriving to stay at private villas, chalets and flats at 15.7 percent of the total, of which 62 percent had singled out Pollensa as the place they wanted to holiday.

However, the Balearic government said yesterday that the figure which it judged to reflect the number of tourists staying in alternative lodgings is closer to 30 percent. Antoni Horrach, president of the the Majorcan Hoteliers' Federation meanwhile claimed that 50 percent of the total number of tourists coming to the island would be much nearer the truth.

The interviews had shown that “residential” tourists stayed at the homes of friends and families, or else they choose to buy a property or rent out to third parties; “these three alternatives are distinct categories from tourist groups who opt to stay in hotel accommodation,” said Balearic University Market Research teacher, Garau Vadell. German clients aged between 35 and 45 with children were major customers for holiday homes, he said. They chose to stay longer than hotel package tourists and spent “slightly more.” Civil Law expert, Francisca Llodra, said that there should be norms and bylaws governing alternative forms of accommodation. Regional government, she said, whilst not prohibiting residential tourism, had not addressed the issue thoroughly enough.