STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE Balearics is now in the peak of the tourist season, with the level of reservations, clients and income all down by an average of between 3 and 5 percent and predictions for any improvement compared to last year are “chilly,” Aurelio Vazquez, the President of the Balearic Hotel Federation said yesterday.

Vazquez was joined by the President of the Majorcan Hoteliers Federation Antoni Horrach who said: “We believed that at the end of the first fortnight in July, that we were in a similar position to the same period last year and that we could expect an upturn in reservations and income over the next few weeks.” But Horrach continued: “The fact is that we find ourselves at this moment in time under par compared to last year when we had already experienced a significant slump in the market.” Vazquez furthered that the success of the rest of the peak tourist season, another six weeks until the end of August, is still an unknown quantity. He added that there were, however, last minute bookings coming in attracted by discounts of between 15 and 20 percent. The President of the Balearic Hotel Federation estimated that on average, a fifth of the reservations for the remaining peak season will include the assumption of discounts. The price to pay, said Vazquez is the fact that hotel profits will be eroded as a result.

Horrach confirmed that the information he had so far about current reservations and those for the rest of the peak season were “not what we had been expecting,” particularly with reference to Majorca. He said that hotel occupancy levels in June this year didn't reach the 79.6 percent average registered during the same month in 2009, and that the same could be said of results for the first two months of July. “There are plenty of beds available,” said Horrach, who pointed out that even the occupancy levels reported for peak season 2009 were below the norm for Majorca.

Horrach said that German tourism is flourishing better on Majorca this year than its British counterpart.
Meanwhile, Vazquez said that something which may act in the favour of the Balearic Islands is that holiday accommodation in Turkey and Tunisia is registering “almost full,” and that Greece is experiencing holiday commercialisation problems. “These circumstances may well mean that people will choose Spanish holiday destinations as an alternative, and of course the Balearics is amongst them,” suggested the Federation President. He claimed that the World Cup football championship had in fact put back bookings which may now pick up with the event having drawn to a close.

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