STAFF REPORTER OCCUPANCY for rural hotels in the Balearics is currently running at a disappointing 40 percent, but hopes are high that the summer season could see this figure pick up to 70 or 80 percent, Ventura Rubi, the President of the regional Rural Hotels Association said yesterday.

Rubi said that this month, reservation levels are 10 percent less than during May 2009 and said that at the moment, bookings aren't looking promising for the summer.

However, Rubi discounted the option of lowering prices to kick start demand because the more expensive rural hotels were the ones that attracted most custom. What the Association is prepared to do, he added is “throw some extras” into the deal such as offer excursions for clients into the Tramuntana mountains or provide a free bottle of wine. Our guests, he said, are searching for peace and quiet in the heart of the countryside. Rubi said that it mostly Germans who patronise the 125 rural hotels in the Balearics belonging to the Association, confirming that clientele from other parts of Spain had fallen away dramatically.