PALMA airport is dealing with its busiest weekend of the year, not only because schools are out in the United Kingdom, but also because yesterday was the first day of the big getaway in Spain. But while millions of Spaniards spend this weekend travelling across the country to their summer holiday destinations, few people will be leaving the Balearics. Last summer, the most popular summer holiday destination for the people of the Balearics was.... the Balearics.
30 percent of the Balearic population holidayed at home last year and a similar figure will be spending their summer holidays in the region again this year. Andalucia was the second “holiday at home” choice with 18.1 percent, followed by Catalunya with 14.5 percent and Madrid with 11.6 percent. Only 9.3 percent chose to go abroad. “The Spanish Traveller” is the title of a study undertaken by an Institute of Tourist Studies, a subsidiary of the State Departmnet for Commerce and Tourism. It reveals that 45.9 percent of the islanders made a journey of some kind in the year 2002, in some cases short, to a second home or as a tourist. In line with this study, statistics show that the residents of the Balearics made a total of 1.8 million journeys during the year of which 608'597 were made as tourists. The report released yesterday by the Ministry of Economy defines the tourist journeys it analyzes as falling into two categories: those of some duration (4 nights or more) to a second home; and the remainder, either short stays or long, in overnight accommodation that was not a second residence owned by the traveller. Islanders mostly travelled for pleasure, recreation or holidays (55 percent of the total), with a combined sum of 353'503 journeys made, above all to the countryside or the beach (48.3 percent); “another category of short break” (28 percent); cultural tourism (18.4 percent) and sporting activity (5.3 percent). The reasons for travelling from the home base were visits to family or friends (30.8 percent) and journeys related to work or business negotiation (7.1 percent). The report showed that 43.2 percent of the islanders who travelled in the period of the study stayed in the houses of family or friends; some 32.6 percent took lodging in hotels or similar establishments; 11.4 percent used their own properties and 3.5 percent went to country houses. From another perspective, the study also pointed to the fact that last year, Spanish citizens made 2.2 million journeys to the Balearics, the vast majority (nearly 85 percent) for pleasure or for holiday. With regard to tourist journeys, data confirmed that 59.3 percent of the residents of other Spanish Communities repeat visits to the Islands and that 90 percent are happy to return. In total, last year, more than half of Spaniards resident in Spain made some type of journey which averages out at six journeys per person per year.

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