AT least 130 hotels and apartment complexes on Majorca are going to offer an “all inclusive” holiday package to visitors to the Island this year.
Josep Aloy, tourist planning director, confirmed yesterday that this figure represents a growth of 85.7 percent in this sector over and above 2003.
Aloy was speaking at an open forum held in Palma by the Young Businessmen in Tourism association, on the “pros and cons” of the all-inclusive holiday package. The director explained that these 130 hotels are, “for now”, providing their own in-house complimentary food and drink services as well as lodging, as part of the inclusive deal during the coming tourist season. This quota makes up 8.3 percent of the hotel complement of Majorca, and the 52'000 places that the all-inclusive hotels offer, comprise 18 percent of the total number of tourist placings on Majorca. Aloy signalled that he was aware of a body of opinion that warned of the “damaging effect” that the all-inclusive holiday could have on bars, cafés and restaurants, which act as independent businesses, separately from the hotels. He pointed out however, that if tourists wanted a kind of holiday where everything they wanted to eat or drink could be had within their hotels as part of the all-inclusive package, they would simply go elsewhere to find it if it were not available on Majorca. He gave assurances that the regional Tourism ministry had established control over the maintenance of standards of such an offer to make sure that visitors received a certain quality of service for their money. At the round table discussion yesterday, Aloy was also acting as moderator in debates between the director general of Hotetur, Francisco Gimena; the managing director of the Majorcan Business Association, Eduardo Suárez; and Christian Glet, a director of the Spanish sector of the giant European Tour Operator, TUI. Gimena, whose hotels first marketed the all-inclusive holiday, asserted that contrary to popular belief, visitors who opt for this type of holiday enjoy a medium-level buying power and are often experts in assessing the quality/price ratio of a family holiday. The Majorcan hoteliers representative claimed, however, that to accept the “all-inclusive” will mean a downturn in the quality and variety in the Spanish tourist industry. He purported that the reputation of independent bars, cafés and restaurants as becoming “increasingly expensive” is inaccurate and has done much to harm small businesses.