Palma.—The Minister for Tourism, Industry and Energy, Jose Manuel Soria, told members of the Majorcan Hotel Federation that this season “is going to be another record year” for tourism.

However, as the Bulletin has reported over the last few weeks, things are not that buoyant in the tourist industry and yesterday the Managing Director of Monarch Travel Group, Hugh Morgan, painted a worrying picture with regards to the British market which, until now has been the driving force behind the Spanish tourist market up by nearly 10 percent overall with the Balearics being the most popular destination.

Morgan told the Bulletin last week that the market had gone flat and that had happened before the heat wave hit and the Spanish mainland was one of three destinations the British holiday industry as a whole was extremely concerned about.

And yesterday, while Soria was telling Majorcan hoteliers that 26.1 million foreigners flew into Spain during the first half of this year, 4.2 percent or 1.1 million more, Morgan revealed that the overall market was about 20-25% down last week with the word “staycation” being bandied about all over the UK, and British beaches packed to capacity, with melting roads etc. “We (Monarch) still managed to outperform the market at +4% but can assure you that the normal bounce in the market is not showing,” he said. “It is crunch time this very week, and I am absolutely delighted we got our business in up front and ahead of the game,” he added. “21 July through till 5 September is normally totally guaranteed business but we are all holding our breath this year and nothing is certain, not even the weather. “Starting tonight and carrying on throughout the week we are expecting flash floods and thunderstorm's ‘divine intervention' and tomorrow the state schools finally breakup. “Now we've got the birth of the next (if it's a boy) King of England, so the nation might be uplifted once again, as this weekend's sport, cricket, golf, Tour de France has placed us all in a great mood! “So it is all now down to luck of the Gods,” Morgan revealed.
Not quite the picture Soria painted in Palma and if the heat wave does continue in the UK, the last minute rush on family holidays once the school holidays begin may not happen, or certainly not on the scale as usually expected and witnessed and Majorca is one destination where there is still occupancy.

However, Soria could not deny the collapse of domestic tourism and warned that it will not begin to pick up until the economy improves over all and consumers regain their confidence and it appears that his encouraging words were not enough to placate the hoteliers.

The President of the Majorcan Hotel Federation, Aurelio Vazquez, pressed Soria over the need for tax cuts and other fiscal incentives for the hotel industry and better funding for the Balearics in general.

Vazquez urged Soria to be a better “ally” of the Majorcan hoteliers. “Here in the Balearics, the people do not want any more rights, what we want is fair funding from central government. “There are other regions of Spain benefiting from the hardships and under funding we are having to endure,” Vazquez told Soria, hoping that the Minister for Tourism will pass on the hoteliers' concerns to the Prime Minister on his return to Madrid.

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