STAFF REPORTER THERE was an increase of nearly 14 percent in the number of overnight stays at hotels in the Balearic Islands last month in comparison with August 2009, reported the National Institute of Statistics (INE) yesterday, adding that the Balearics had been the most popular destination in Spain for foreign visitors last month.

This is the first occasion this upturn has happened during August since 2006 (4.6 percent more than in 2005), the INE highlighted in its findings. In following years however, hotel occupancy rates in August have been on the wane until this year when the year-on-year increase was much greater than the one registered in 2006.

In 2007, overnight stays in the Balearics during August took a tumble of 2.5 percent in comparison with 2006, in 2008 figures for August were down by 0.1 percent and in 2009 they nose-dived by 8.5 percent. But this year the upturn of 14 percent meant that there were 9.8 million overnight stays made by visitors to the Balearic Islands during August.

Hoteliers in the Balearics reported an average occupancy rate of 89.60 percent for the month which resulted in the Islands proving to be the region of the country with the highest number of overnight stays. The figure, with an average tourist stay of 7.24 days, was 7.6 percent higher than the 81.95 percent average occupancy rate registered in 2009.

Minorca, and Ibiza (with Formentera) were the three tourist areas of the country which had the highest occupancy rates, 91 and 90 percent respectively.
Santanyi and Alcudia were two of the five resorts in Spain with the highest hotel occupancy rates anywhere in the country, 96.3 and 94.5 percent respectively. Calvia and Palma, meanwhile in absolute numerical terms were tourist areas of Spain with the second and third highest numbers of overnight stays in August, 1.29 million and 957'693 respectively.