STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE evidence that tourists are spending notably less this year was revealed yesterday by the food and beverages section of the small-to-medium sized businesses association of Majorca, when they reported that cafés and restaurants located in the tourist zones around the island's coastline were complaining that this July trade had been between 20 and 30 percent less than what it had been for the same month in 2007.

The monthly results were bad news for many such areas who were already suffering from tourists not having the same spending power this year as they have done in previous seasons - largely as a result of the credit crunch being experienced in the Western hemisphere and fuel and energy costs forcing many families to rethink whether they do indeed have the funds to go away on holiday.

The businesses association, publicising its findings after prolonged interviews with some fifty of its members, said that another major factor in the plummeting figures is the continued “advance” of the all-inclusive hotel where all lodging, food and drink (including alcohol) costs are paid in advance by the client, giving them little incentive to spend their money at restaurants clustered around the tourist hotels. Some districts of Majorca have been worse affected than others - reports have been received of businesses in Soller reducing their staffing levels in July - almost unheard of in the full flood of high tourist season.

Client spending is significantly lower across all levels of the industry, said the Majorcan business association - PIMEM. It's clear that people are coming away on a budget this year. Other areas where bars, cafés and restaurants are claiming serious decline in business are Can Pastilla, s'Arenal and Cala Ratjada. In Porto Cristo in the district of Manacor on the other side of the island, association members have laid the blame for their misfortune squarely at the door of the “all-inclusive offer”. The case of the capital Palma is slightly different. Tables are still filled because people come to sight-see regardless of the weather. But, say spokesmen for the restaurant industry, when the clients actually sit down, the level at which they are prepared to spend has “probably fallen by about 20 percent” for the time of year.

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