By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
THE credit crunch in Britain does not appear to have deterred Britons from traveling this year. More Britons traveled overseas during the first three months of this year than they did during the first quarter of 2007, according to the latest report issued by the Office of National Statistics.

However, the report contains come statistics which may cause some concern for the Balearic travel industry. After a busy start to the year with an early surge in bookings in Britain, there has recently been a slight dip in demand for the Balearics in the United Kingdom.

The report shows that, while two percent more Britons travelled abroad during the first three months of this year, the growth market has been long haul.

18 million trips abroad were taken by Britons but the number of visits to Europe fell, along with those to the United States.
What is more, demand for overseas holidays and trips has been growing steadily in Britain for the past six months . As travel experts have been telling the Bulletin lately, holidays are no longer a luxury in Britain “but an integral part of life” and it would appear that consumers may be cutting back in other areas, but not on their holidays.

What is also very apparent is the growing trend for Britons coming to Europe, to take more frequent but shorter trips.
Last month, Palma city council unveiled fresh plans to promote Palma as a long weekend destination, but until all of the city's retail and service sectors throw their full support behind the campaign, Palma is going to struggle to become a top European city break location.

Palma shops and restaurants have been urged by Spanish tourism chiefs to become more flexible and change with the times.