MINORCA Ibiza and Formentera have to improve their hotels and other tourism products to win back German holidaymakers and to compete effectively with other Mediterranean destinations, according to tour operators.

Demand for the three smaller islands is again mixed this year, German operators reported. Most have stagnating volumes, although Neckermann described Ibiza sales as “outstanding”.

But the islands appear to share similar problems. Many of the hotels are relatively old and mid-market standard, value for money is worsening, the tourism product portfolio away from the beaches is limited, and they have a short main season. In response, German tour operators are calling on the islands to diversify their offer, lengthen the season and invest in higher-standard hotels.

Minorca is planning to fight the stagnation by investing 4 million euros in the next three years in supporting tourism.
An airport extension is due to open within the next few weeks and TUI is supporting the government's new marketing campaign. Several operators have praised the efforts of hoteliers to renovate their properties and to move them more up-market. Ibiza is in the best position of the three islands since it has started to invest in more up-market hotels over the last few years. Several such properties have already opened.

Jürgen Gilfert, sales manager for locally-based Fiesta Hotels, said: “There's a clear trend. High-value properties are selling especially well this year.” The island has also opened two museums and new cycling routes to help get away from the “party island” image and appeal more to sport and culture.