Palma.—There is little doubt that the Balearic tourist industry is going to emerge from two recession-hit years this summer with an estimated 3.2 million Britons booked to come here on holiday this season.

The encouraging news was broken to the President of the Balearics, Francesc Antich and the Minister for Tourism, Joana Barcelo, yesterday by the Director of the Spanish Tourist Board, Turespaña, in London, Ignacio Vasallo during a meeting in Palma.

Armed with the very latest United Kingdom market figures, Vasallo was able to confirm that there has certainly been a major swing back in favour of Spain and the Balearics this year and it has not only been caused by the troubles in North Africa and the Middle East because Britons began booking Spanish holidays over the Christmas period. Half a million
Vasallo reported that British tour operators have increased their capacity in the Balearics this year by half a million and that the number of Britons coming to the islands this year is back to pre-recession figures. The Turespaña boss said that Balearic package holiday prices are extremely competitive this year, cheaper than Turkey and Tunisia for example while the UK Air Passenger Duty is also making short haul flights to destinations like the Balearics cheaper still. The APD supplement to fly to the Balearics is 12 pounds, for example, compared to 60 pounds for Egypt and the 85 pounds if flying to the United States.

Vasallo also stressed that three out of every ten Britons going on a summer holiday this year will be coming to the Balearics which has been enjoying a 35 percent share of the British market for the past couple of weeks.

Vasallo was also in Palma with the Chief Executive of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), Mark Tanzer and his team for a site visit ahead of the ABTA convention in Palma in October.

Tanzer told the Bulletin that Spain is very much leading the market this year and was showing signs of doing so before all the problems blew up in North Africa and the Middle East.

He said what is important to recognise about the Balearics is that “it is a safe and secure option. Everybody knows the islands and, when everybody is tightening their belts, they want to know that they and the children are going to have a guaranteed good holiday and that is what the Balearics offers,” Tanzer said. “And having the ABTA convention here in Majorca is very important for us because the island is such an important destination to the industry and the public,” he added.