STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE next tourist season in the Balearics will see the so-called “all-inclusive” offer account for up to nearly a quarter of all hotel accommodation in the region. The move will continue to force the closure of tourist related businesses in the Islands which for decades have depended on the old-style package holiday, said Eugeni Aguilo, Professor of Applied Economics at the Balearic University (UIB) yesterday.

The “all-inclusive” offer, enabling clients to pay for all accommodation, food and drink (including alcohol) in advance, means that visitors in theory need never leave their hotels. Prior to the introduction of the “all-inclusive”, hotel guests would patronise bars, cafés and restaurants in the area of their hotel -described as the complementary offer - and purchase locally made goods from tourist shops. With the increasing spread of “all-inclusive” hotel, designed to combat cheaper competition from non Euro holiday destination zones, the dependent traders are going out of business.

Or at least, this is what is being suggested by Aguilo who said in an interview that the 2010 tourist season would nevertheless be “slightly better” than the one just finished this year despite the fact that the length of the season would yet again be shortened. According to Aguilo, most of the tourists coming to the Islands in 2010 will be of “middle to low class” with limited spending power. He said that his assessment is valid above all for Majorca because the situation for the smaller islands in the Balearics is “worse.” At least one international tour operator doing business in the Balearics, said Aguilo, has calculated that its business for all-inclusive offers in the Balearics will grow by 30 percent next year.

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