Staff Reporter

THE Balearic Government has promised to launch a campaign to tackle the drop in the number of German tourists visiting the Balearics.
The Balearic President, Francesc Antich, who was visiting the Balearic stand at the Berlin Tourist Fair yesterday, described discussions with German tour operators as to this year's tourist season as “quite positive”. “The booking figures given to us by the German travel agents are superior to 2007 for Majorca, Ibiza and Formentera,” said Antich.
But the worry is Minorca, which last year experienced the greatest drop of German tourists compared to 2006 at 19.3 percent, followed by Ibiza and Formentera (2.5 percent) and Majorca (1.6 percent). While last year's statistics are a concern, the German market continues to be the most important for the Balearics, with 3.9 million visitors last year, compared with 3.4 million from the UK and 2.96 million from Spain.

According to Antich, German tour operators were positive about improvements to the Islands' infrastructure and the modernisation of hotels. However, the number of hotels closing during the off-season remains a concern.

The Minister for Tourism, Francesc Buils, said that figures for Minorca in the German market required “reflection”.
But he was upbeat about the continuing loyalty German tourists show towards the Balearics. Almost one in five who visited the Islands last year had been to the Balearics on at least 10 occasions.

The Government, recognising the importance of the German market, is launching a two-million euro campaign which will see representatives of the tourist sector visit specialised fairs in Stuttgart, Hamburg and Leipzig in 2008.

On 5, 6, and 7 of June, the Balearics will organise a musical and theatrical spectacle in one of Berlin's main squares, the Alexanderplatz, to promote the Islands. “We will promote the essence of our Islands, sun and beaches, as well as the culture and beauty of the interior,” said Buils.