STAFF REPORTER HOTELS in Palma remain the most expensive in the country in spite of the fact that average prices in Spain have fallen to 89 euros this month, 4.4 percent less than in May when the figure stood at 93 euros.

Details were released yesterday by price comparison watchdog in a study where 25 of Spain's most important towns and cities came under scrutiny. The town of Logroño in the North of Spain emerged as the cheapest place in the country to stay in a hotel having come down from 90 euros in May to an average of 68 euros in June. Seville has also dropped its prices considerably from 115 euros in May to 97 this month, whilst Majorca proved the most expensive at an average of 142 euros.

Across Europe meanwhile, average hotel prices have also fallen but the watchdog warned that staying overnight in Geneva in Switzerland will set travellers back an average 216 euros, the dearest prices on the Continent.

The hotel sector in Spain is developing a series of strategies to reduce its tariff in order to attract more visitors in a year that has seen setbacks related to the global economic crisis which has yet to bottom out.

The watchdog report showed that apart from the cheapest hotel prices being claimed by Logroño this month, there were other cities which were also very competitively priced, including Zaragoza and Leon, both with an average of 71 euros, Murcia (74), Granada (75), La Coruña (77), Malaga (78), Oviedo (78) and Santiago de Compostela (79). Apart from prices in Palma standing out as the country's highest, it is one of the few places in Spain where rates have actually gone up - average tariffs in May stood at 137 euros. Only three other places maintain rates above 100 euros this month: Barcelona (119), San Sebastian (114) and Madrid (103).