Staff Reporter

PALMA
TOURISM bookings via the internet for all the islands have increased by around 50 percent this Summer.
This is mainly due to aggressive marketing by the on line companies and the increase in air traffic by low cost airlines to the airports of Palma, Mahon and Ibiza.

The President of the Travel Agents Association (Aviba), Mateo Pou, said that there had been “a spectacular rise in the number of tourists and visitors to the islands, thanks to the bookings made via the various on line sites in the market. “Expedia and You Travel have increased their bookings by around 20 percent, but in the global figure for tourists, which can be compared to the Summer of 2006, the increase is around 50 percent, mainly on Majorca”.

To Expedia and You Travel must be added websites such as Hotelbeds, Lastminute.com, Medhotels and a long etcetera of small websites which give a wide range of all types of offers on the islands. Pou said that Balearic travel agents, in spite of appearances, “have not lost their share of the market, as they are more concerned with the type of client who books the hotel, flight, rental car, transfers and other services such as excursions, which stimulates the economy”.

The President of the Hoteliers Federation of Majorca, Antoni Horrach, said that there are hotels in the Palmanova Magalluf area “where 30 percent of their bookings come from direct sales on the internet. We are surprised how this phenomenon is taking off, but we are simply adapting to changes in tourist demand”.

Aviba said that the British market makes 60 percent of these types of bookings, followed by the German and Spanish markets. “The outlook is that growth over the next few years will be spectacular because of the way the market is going. In addition to this, the clients have a medium disposable income”.

This phenomenon is linked to the increase in operations by low cost airlines, as in the case of Air Berlin, easyJet and Ryanair.
For these airlines the Balearics is a priority, as shown by the fact that in 2006, Palma was the Spanish airport with the most air traffic due to the low cost airlines.

New technology has meant a real revolution in the tourist industry, mainly because the internet has opened the door to the consumer to decide on and book their own holidays and travel. Now the tourist is the one who dictates the commercial strategies of the tour operators and the travel agents, because they can choose from their home and adapt their travel arrangements to their personal taste without going to a traditional travel agent.

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