NEARLY all tourist businesses in the Balearics say they won't be offering new jobs this year, and nearly three out of four say they won't be able to keep up the number of staff they have at the moment, socioeconomic foundation “Gadeso” reported yesterday.

Nevertheless, 87 percent of hoteliers and other tourist businesses in the region said they thought that the holiday season in the Islands this year was going to be “similar” to 2009. Only just over 4 percent said they thought it was going to be worse, a vast improvement in expectations than last year when nearly 30 percent said they believed the 2009 season was going to be “much worse” than in 2008.

This year, say “Gadeso”, Ibiza and Formentera are the most optimistic of the islands in terms of holiday season forecasts. Research showed that around 9.5 percent of businesses are confident about the season whereas only 8 percent of those on Majorca and 6 percent on Minorca are in agreement.

However, said “Gadeso”, the fact that expectations amongst tourist business this year are higher than last year doesn't mean that the 2010 season is going to be a good one. Although hoteliers are saying that this year is going to be much like last, it has to be remembered that 2009 was not a good year, researchers said. “Gadeso” said businesses are battling uncertainty caused by the economic crisis, Central Government spending cuts, and the Icelandic ash cloud.