BUSINESSES in Majorca that rely on summer tourists for survival have been experiencing a mixed trade over the past few months, with many reporting losses of up to 25 per cent on this time last year.
Local government statistics out this week show a 5 per cent down-turn in profits across the entire entertainment sector on the island.
Bars and restaurants geared towards families have put the loss down to a shift in the market. They say that there has been an increase in short weekend breaks for stag and hen parties, which puts families off and leave the week's trade quieter.
Chris, from Lisa's Bar in Magalluf, said: I noticed a big increase in these big party groups of up to 60 people. People now save their money all year just for a weekend. They are replacing the mums and dads and kids that used to come. Donna, the manageress at Lady Tavern, has reported losses of over 20 per cent from last year and also said there has been a noticeable increase in men on holiday for stag parties this year. Magalluf is dying out as a family resort. They are choosing to go to cheaper and more exotic places. You now pay roughly 1'400 euros for a week's family holiday in Magalluf. For the same you could go to Florida. Dino, who owns family restaurant Hollywood's, said: There are a lot more youngsters and less families this year. The stag and hen outings are what have really damaged us. The president of the Majorcan Association of Tourist Attractions, Omar Garcia, has said this week that some businesses in the entertainment sector have reported losses from between 10 and 25 per cent.
He also identified an increase in bookings for weekend breaks and all-inclusive holidays, which has affected businesses as well.
The all inclusive holidays in particular have had a very negative effect, he said, because the tourists have both lunch and dinner in the hotel and don't make use of any of the restaurants or tourist attractions in the area.
He said more and better promotional campaigns were needed to attract British families back to areas such as Magalluf.
He added that the number of German visitors was on the rise again, while an increase in Spanish visitors was helping to fill the gap left by the drop in British visitors.
It is also necessary to extend the season, he said, starting in April and continuing through October.
Nick Brown, owner of four Tom Brown's restaurants in Magalluf, said that Majorca's down-turn in profits was a result of a greater choice of holiday destinations open to tourists due to cheaper flights and increased prices on the island. We get a lot more trade over the weekend, because more and more people are coming over on these low-cost flights. For my restaurants I've noticed a 40 per cent increase in profit on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. What Majorca has got to watch out for is that it doesn't price itself out of the market. The island as a whole is very expensive compared to similar places in Europe and is becoming less competitive. Bar and restaurants that cater more for families are frustrated at the trend towards young groups of people on stag or hen weekends, because the majority of the money spent is on alcohol and not food.
Colin Jakings, owner of Roosters in Magalluf for seven years, said: I can't see business getting back up to the heights of four or five years ago. Those days are gone. The problem now is that the all-inclusive holidays are on the increase, which is bad news for people like me in the restaurant trade. Concerns have also been raised about the effect on tourism of the recent industrial action in Majorca, which saw cleaners striking for three days and left the Son Sant Joan airport strewn with rubbish and toilets closed.