HOTEL bookings for Easter were looking on the bright side yesterday when the Hoteliers' Federation of Majorca (FEHM) reported that reservations at tourist accommodation across the Playa de Palma, Palmanova, Magalluf and the city of Palma itself were averaging the 60 to 65 percent full mark.

Federation sources said their figures relate to what has become a very early Easter period this year, between the 19th and 24th March, and that they are “very similar” to those recorded for the same period in 2004 when there was an equally “advanced” Semana Santa (Holy Week) calendar. On that occasion, reservation figures stood at around 64.1 percent. About 60 percent of hotels on Majorca are open in the latter half of March.

Breaking down the report into areas, hoteliers along the Playa de Palma are expecting to secure a 70 percent occupancy rate in a tourist zone where an equal figure of 70 percent of the hotels are open during this period. Other establishments wait until later in the season to open but all will be up and running by 1st May. In Palmanova in the district of Magalluf, only 44 percent of hotels will be open by the time Easter visitors start arriving but those that are expect reservations to fill them by an average of 80 percent. Palma city on the other hand, where all hotels will be open for the latter half of March, are only prepared for an occupancy rate of 45 percent but the Palma hoteliers' association has highlighted the city's potential for weekend tourism and “city breaks” underpinned by a “good infrastructure” and well-connected transport system.

In terms of nationality this Easter, Spaniards take the top spot with the Germans and British following close behind with seven day package deals. The Federation said that reservation levels are normal for an early Easter but last minute bookings are often dependent on the weather - in years when “Holy Week” falls in March, there is clearly a greater risk of inclement weather than there is in April - potential customers will be watching the forecasts.