STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
BARS, cafés and restaurants belonging to the Balearic Business Federation (CAEB)and the regional small to medium-sized business association (PIMEM), said yesterday that their trade is being seriously undermined by the all-inclusive holiday offer.

Juan Cabrera, President of PIMEM said that some tourist businesses are losing as much as 30 percent of their trade in comparison with 2009, because visitors staying at all-inclusive hotels have paid in advance not just for their accommodation but for all their food and drink. Technically, Cabrera said, the all-inclusive tourists do not need to leave their hotels to try food and drink at independent bars, cafés and restaurants.

Cabrera said that with all-inclusive hotels providing little incentive to their guests to spend their money elsewhere, such holiday packages are damaging the survival chances of independent restaurateurs. “And the all-inclusive offer is still on the increase,” claimed Cabrera, adding that this tourist season has been a highly unusual one in that more visitors are coming but their spending rates remain low. “We're now into the third week of August and we don't see signs of trade picking up at all. Each year, the season get's shorter,” warned Cabrera. He pointed out that the rise of the all-inclusive hotel offer has failed to convince even the managers and owners who subscribe to it, that the system is a profitable venture, Cabrera claimed that the hoteliers can see that they are not earning a great deal of money out of the all-inclusive but they have had to “knuckle under” to the demands of the tour operators so that the latter are in a position to sell holiday rooms at the hotels.

Both CAEB and PIMEM are calling on the regional ministry for Tourism to call a halt to the expansion of the all-inclusive holiday offer, not just because it is undermining independent restaurateur businesses but also because the hoteliers themselves are not convinced of its success. But a ministry spokesman pointed out yesterday that of the 165 hotels on Majorca which offer the all-inclusive, only 48 have guests who have paid their full quota in advance. The other hotels are a mixture of “paying guests” and those who paid in their country of origin prior to coming away.

The 48 hotels, said the spokesman, only represents 3 percent of all the hotel establishments on Majorca.

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