By Humphrey Carter

YESTERDAY, we reported that the Balearics enjoyed a near ten percent year-on-year increase in the number of foreign holiday makers with 1.7 million coming to the region, the most for a decade and now, the latest airport figures reveal that not only is Palma the country's busiest low cost airport but the British are leading the late revival in the tourist industry.

With the British media having reported last week that the summer in the UK was officially over as gales and torrential rain continue to lash some parts of the country causing flash floods, it appears that the “staycation” is paying the price and Britons have been rushing to grab late deals with savings of over 40 percent on some holidays with Balearics hoteliers desperate to save the end of the season.

Earlier this month, the Balearic Ministry for Tourism unveiled a 1.5 million euro blanket media campaign targeted at recuperating the 100'000 plus British tourists the region lost during the first half of this year and, judging by the latest figures, it may just work. Last month, Balearics airports handled 1.19 million low cost airline passengers, nearly eight percent more than July last year and just under 30 percent of the national low cost market of four million passengers.

Palma's Son San Joan airport was the busiest low cost airport in Spain last month handling 860'621 passengers, three percent more than July last year while low cost passengers figures in Ibiza rose by nearly 30 percent.

Palma airport has in fact been Spain's favourite low cost destination since the start of the year handling a total of 3.17 million passengers during the first seven months, 3.3 percent more than during the same period last year. Britain, Germany and Italy are the main markets.

Last month, the number of British low cost passengers flying into the Balearics rose by nearly one percent to 1.57 million.
According to airport authority figures, three out of every ten British low cost passengers coming to Spain land in the Balearics, nearly five percent more than last year.

This week's figures have been welcomed by the tourist industry and could prove sufficient for hotels and resorts to remain open longer than usual should the late surge in demand continue.

August's figures will prove crucial.
A number of hoteliers have slashed their prices for August and September and some have even given their tour operators free range in pricing in order to fill their rooms and now, at the peak of the season, Turkey is overbooked and with the Pound continuing to perform better than last year against the Euro, many Britons may find the late Balearic deals irresistible.

Britons safer with tour operators: See page 5


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