Staff Reporter

THE Balearics was the main destination chosen by foreign tourists in May, with 4.7 million overnight stays, some three percent less than during the same month last year, which was 32.6 percent of the total of foreigners coming to Spain, according to the Poll of Hoteliers published yesterday by the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

In May Balearic hotels recorded a total of 5.2 million overnight stays, some 4.3 percent more than during the same month last year, with an occupation level of 57.1 percent, 3.5 percentage points less, and with an average stay which went from 5.7 days last year to 5.6 days this year.

For their part, Spanish tourists had 473'129 overnight stays, 78'827 less than in 2006. In total, the number of tourists arriving in the Balearics decreased by 4.6 percent in May to 926'512 people, of whom 794'297 were foreigners (4.7 percent less) and 132'215 Spanish (4.2 percent less).

Majorca was in May the fourth Spanish tourist area with the greatest level of hotel occupation (last year it was the sixth), with 60.9 percent of its beds occupied (1.9 percent less than 12 months ago), but the average stay remained at 5.7 days.

The island recorded 4.2 million overnight stays for foreigners, while those made by the Spanish rose to 340'777.
For their part Ibiza and Formentera were the fourth tourist area with the greatest number of overnight stays (last year they were the third), due to a 43 percent decrease in overnight stays by the Spanish (78'925 as opposed to 136'631 in 2006), while 620'208 foreigners came, some 9.2 percent less. The hotel occupation in Ibiza and Formentera fell by 10.2 percentage points to 44.7 percent, and the average stay went from 5.7 days last year to 5.4 days this year.

Minorca, was the eighth tourist area with most overnight stays, with a total of 357'224, of which 303'797 were foreigners, some 4.6 percent less than in 2006, with an occupation of 47.6 percent, 3.4 percentage points less, and an average stay of 5.8 days, two tenths of a percentage point less than in May 2006.

Four Majorcan municipalities are in the Spanish list of the 10 tourist areas which had the most occupation in May.
Calvia was in second place (72.9 percent and an average stay of 5.3 days); Pollensa was third (72.3 percent, average stay 6.4 days); Santa Margalida in sixth position with 69.5 percent and 6.9 days; and Son Servera in ninth position with 68.1 percent and 7.6 days. Palma, Alcudia and Muro were the second, eighth and ninth tourist areas with most overnight stays.