THE good news: the number of foreign visitors to the Balearics during the first six months of the year has grown by 2.3 percent. The bad news: they're spending less, not staying for as long and there was a decrease in the number of foreign tourists arriving on the islands last month of over 2 percent.

Official figures released yesterday show what most in the tourist business already knew: that there hasn't been much of a decline in the number of tourists coming to the Balearics so far this year.

There were 4.1 million visitors to the Balearics, according to central Government's FRONTUR survey, with 1.5 million alone coming in June.
But while the Balearics has received more foreign visitors during June than any other region of Spain, the number is down 2.1 percent on the same month last year. The survey puts the decrease in tourists coming in June down to difficulties in the British market. The German market, however, continues to be strong and it is estimated that 7.3 percent more tourists from Germany came to the Balearics during the first six months of the year than the same period last year. More than half a million Germans came to the islands in June alone.

Tourist numbers aren't the problem but the length of time they are staying and the amount of money they are spending. So says the President of the Playa de Palma Hotel Association, Francisco Marin, who said that there had been a reduction in the average stay of tourists, principally Germans, who come to this area of the island.

He said that tourists were, on average, staying 3 or 4 days when 5 or 6 was normal for this time of the season in former years.
The hoteliers are worried at this development, which sees their establishments “only busy between Thursday and Sunday, and experiencing a significant reduction during the rest of the week”.

Marin put this down to tourists changing their habits and the economic situation. He said that the “current situation of recession, more or less, was affecting the pockets of all countries' citizens”.