By Humphrey Carter
TRUE to form, there were more British holidaymakers than any other nationality in Majorca last month with Palma's Son Sant Joan airport reporting yesterday a near nine percent increase in passengers from the UK. July was a busy month for the airport which handled 5.4 percent more passengers, 2.475.574 in total, and 5.6 percent more flights than in July last year with traffic records being broken consecutively over the past two weekends. Although a very short season, the peak of the summer is proving to be a good one.
In total, Palma airport handled 759.045 British passengers last month followed by 678.239 Germans, a slight increase of just 0.48 percent on July last year and 507.973 domestic passengers, a rise of 7.62 percent. Palma airport has handled 2.677.885 British passengers since the start of the year, 8.48 percent more than January to July last year, and only March and June saw a drop in passengers, while in comparison to 2002, passengers rose by 24 percent in January, 18 percent in February, 11 percent in April and 22 percent in May. By comparison the German market has been much more inconsistant with declines of 4, 10 and 6 percent in February, March and May respectively, although in April the number of German pasengers rose by 26 percent and in June, 13%. So far this year, 3.324.678 Germans have used Palma airport, four percent more than during the first seven months of last year. The domestic market is up by 13 percent. The heatwave in the UK has however led to a slight slow down in last minute overseas holiday bookings.
Domestic UK operators have reported sales going through the roof with the mass-market package industry continuing to struggle. Borne Leisure, which owns Butlins, Warner, Haven and British Holidays have reported that sales of camping holidays have shot up by 25 percent, in comparison to last year, over the past three weeks. The prolonged heatwave has made people think twice about travelling overseas, not good news for tour operators. Thomas Cook sources said “The markert is tough and the weather doesn't help but people still want to have a break and a fundamental part of that is travelling abroad.”

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