Staff Reporter

PALMA
TRAVEL agencies in the Balearics have registered an increase in the number of cruise holidays they are selling to people who are resident on the Island, saying they believe the reason for the brisk trade is that cruising is something many Islanders claim “they have never tried before”.

Pedro Iriondo, President of the Association of Travel Agencies in the Balearics (Aviba), confirmed yesterday that according to reports from his members, cruising has been the holiday package which underwent the most significant increase last month. A week-long cruise on offer for only 400 euros had been selling like hot cakes, although the trip could only be taken between specific dates and the cabins could only be interior, as opposed to with sea view, said Iriondo. The average price for a cruise in the Mediterranean, however, climbs to 800 euros and goes even higher to 1'200 euros for a week's trip round the Baltic Sea. Iriondo said that this year there has been a greater interest in sales of trips around the Balearic Islands as a result of a travel agency promotion entitled “Escapaplan”.

Asked about the possible repercussions of the economic crisis on sales, Iriondo acknowledged that there had been a decrease of 10 percent in the total volume of sales since July, which, he claimed, was still not “damaging.” The president said that to see the true picture of how trade is going, the association will have to wait until September and October to see how the industry is evolving. Iriondo said that a key moment for holiday sales comes at the end of the traditional tourist season when people living on the Island who work in the hotel and catering industry are then free themselves to go away. “I think what people will do is buy a cheaper journey than the one they may have had last year,” said Iriondo. In October and November, many Islanders in the past have opted to travel to other countries in Europe or far-off destinations such as Argentina and Vietnam, countries which are reportedly very “fashionable” to visit.

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