By Humphrey Carter

BALEARIC summer holidays are selling overseas at a faster rate than they did last summer according to Spain's new Secretary of State for Tourism, Joan Mesquida.

However, after an early surge in bookings in the region's two principal markets, the United Kingdom and Germany, summer holiday sales have suffered a slight down turn.

But Mesquida, making his first official visit to Palma since taking over his new post, said that a similar, if not higher, number of visitors, 13 million, are expected to come to the Balearics this summer.

The Secretary of State told Balearic President Francesc Antich and the local Minister for Tourism, Francesc Buils during talks held at the Consolat del Mar that demand for Balearic holidays is good in some of the new emerging markets in eastern Europe, for example, and that a late revival in the UK and German markets is expected as the summer holidays draw near. He said that the early surge in demand in both countries was due to a wave of special deals and discounts offered by the main tours operators keen to get bums on seats in the New Year.

However, he admitted that there is concern about how the domestic market will perform and that he has been surprised by the quick down turn there has been in spending on the high streets in Spain. This will make it a complicated year for some destinations,” he added.