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Palma.—The rate at which the all-inclusive hotel industry is growing on Majorca is resulting in tourists spending less on the complementary offer of bars, restaurants and commercial centres, Pimem - the small to medium-sized business association of Majorca said yesterday.

Less income for those businesses which are clustered in satellite-style around the major resort hotels means also, said Pimem, that less job offers are being made.

Rafael Rubio, the President of Pimem, claimed that although the all-inclusive system might work very well in South American countries where no so-called complementary offer exists in the first place, it is not appropriate for Majorca where the tourist services industry has a long-established and completely different infrastructure.

Hoteliers blamed “The all-inclusive,” said Rubio, “brings a category of tourist with lower spending power.” He said such a family might come to Majorca and simply spend each day around the hotel swimming pool. Often, Rubio claimed, they don't even go to the beach because it may involve expenditure, and so the family remains what he described as “incarcerated” in the hotel.

Rubio said that it was his opinion that the hoteliers are to blame. He said that the all-inclusive system does not nurture accommodation standards that could attract a higher spending category of tourist. Rubio said that the hoteliers are perpetuating a style of tourism which had its roots in the 1970s and which has resulted in other tourist businesses being left out in the cold.

The hotelers, said Rubio, don't want to see their hotel occupancy rates go down but at the same time they don't want to spend any money on improvements in their establishments. They've been successful in catering for people who spend nothing outside of the hotel. These tourists he claimed are unlikely to rent a car, go shopping in Palma, or even have an ice cream at a beach bar.

Rubio explained that Majorca is geared for a different kind of tourism. He said that what the island needs are visitors who move around, who explore the island and try out the gastronomy and other attractions that are on offer. It is through this movement - which is not promoted by the all-inclusive - that the businesses that we have already established can benefit, he said.

This means, said Rubio, that although the tourist season is now well under way, from an economic point of view it is only half-hearted because very little employment can be offered to local people.

He said that tourist industry forecasts for May had been over-optimistic. “Hoteliers thought that with Easter this year being so close to the start of the season in May, there would be a much higher occupancy rate than finally proved to be the case.

Nevertheless, Rubio said that he felt more upbeat about forecasts for June.