STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THERE will be a strong Balearic presence at the forthcoming World Travel Fair to be held in London between 12th and 15th November, said the Majorcan Hotel Federation yesterday.

Determined not to let “do-it-yourself holidays” detract from the business that key client markets have traditionally brought to the Islands, the hotel federation will be marketing “on-line” facilities whereby holidaymakers can tap directly into the on-line reservation systems “Avanthotel” which has been developed by a technology research foundation.

The Federation president, Antoni Horrach was speaking yesterday about how all sectors of the Balearic tourist industry are ensuring themselves a slot at the World Travel Market in London - the first event of the season. Promotional vehicles providing an international focus on tourism in Spain include “Turespaña” and “Ibatur” - both associations have a strong presence in the Majorcan Hoteliers' Federation.

Horrach said: “We're going to sell the idea of the Visitbalears website at the Trade Fair because we can see that the British market particularly is highly active on the Internet.” He noted that package holiday reservations for the coming season in the Balearics remained low from this key client market, and although he viewed that situation for this particular time of year as “normal”, Horrach was keen to provide Internet “surfers” with a focus for choosing the Balearics as a holiday destination in the coming months. Horrach said that if the British want to search for their holidays away from traditional high street travel agent brochures, it was important to tailor marketing techniques to suit potential client requirements. He claimed that since the beginning of this year's holiday season, nearly a million euros has been pledged by clients through the Internet. The “Avanthotel” reservations system has been developed over the last eight years to provide international accessibility to hotel bookings.

At a national level, the Spanish Hotel Federation said yesterday that occupancy levels in accommodation across the country swelled in June and August this year. Their annual study looks at lengths of stay, takings, and holiday trends amongst tourists of all nationalities, including Spaniards. Forty-seven percent of hoteliers said they believed occupancy levels have risen, 34 percent said figures have remained the same and 19 percent insisted that the outcome this year has been worse than in 2006.

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