STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE number of tourists visiting Palma between July and September this year rose by 3.8 percent in comparison with the same period in 2009, Joana Boras, President of the Municipal Institute for Tourism (Imtur) said yesterday.

Borras added that although the average length of stay of tourists to the capital during this period has dropped by 12 percent to 4.63 days, the average spend per person per day has risen from 107 in 2009 to 116 in 2010.

Speaking during a presentation of this year's third quarter tourist figures, Borras said that the report also showed “a considerable rise” in the number of cruise ships that had docked in Palma from July to September (214), 27.38 percent more than during the same period in 2009.

On the downside, she said, was the fact that there has been a -3.93 percent drop in the number of regular ferry passengers coming to the capital.
Imtur's Managing Director, Pedro Oliver, said he believed that the “trend” in the third quarter this year has been for people to make shorter trips to Palma during which their spending has been greater.

Oliver said that the sights and activities that the city of Palma has to offer fit nicely into a four or five day trip but that if visitors are going to similarly reduce the length of their stay in other locations in the Balearics, then it is the “sun, sea and sand” holidays that are really going to “feel the pinch.” The Managing Director spoke of how important golfing attractions were to the success of Palma as a holiday destination. He said that if the lure of golf were to “fail”, then the figures for the third quarter would likely end up as negative ones in comparison with the previous year.

Oliver also pointed to the rise in business tourism to the capital and said that this sector had begun to “recover” after a disappointing 2009.
Borras said that she was confident that there would be an even higher percentage of business tourism when the city's Congress Palace at the eastern end of the Paseo Maritimo opens at the beginning of 2012. “We'll be giving a new successful look to conferences and business tourism,” she forecast.

In terms of hotel occupancy, Borras reported that the percentage of tourist places reserved by foreigners in Palma during the third quarter had risen by 22.89 percent in comparison to the same three months in 2009, and that the number of Spanish visitors had increased by 21 percent.

Separately, the third quarter report confirmed that there were 15 percent less hotels open during the third quarter this year than there were in 2009 but year-on-year occupation levels were 7.8 percent higher.

Imtur claims that the highest spending foreign tourists during the third quarter were from the Nordic countries - over 114 euros per person per day, whilst the French were the nationality which spent least during their stays in Palma - just over 73 euros a day.

Reliance by tourists on public transport also increased during this period, by 9.2 percent.

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