STAFF REPORTER
REPORTING on results of this year's tourist season on Minorca, the Island Council claimed that there were 1'171'335 visitors this year, 48'332 more than in 2009. Council President Marc Pons said that apart from high levels of hotel occupancy, tourists were apparently staying longer and spending more.

Tourism Councillor, Lazaro Criado went one step further by adding that the complementary offer of bars, cafés, restaurants and other tourist businesses had also had a better summer.

Criado said that according to the small to medium-sized business association reports for the season, two of every three companies declared that they had had less income this summer than last. “Although superficially this doesn't look good,” said Criado, “it is in fact much better than in 2009 when four of every five businesses claimed losses.” Both Criado and Pons agreed that the tide was turning in favour of a more profitable tourist industry in Minorca. They said that the island was now entering a stage where it was gaining visitors rather than losing them and that despite the present economic situation, their hopes were high than 2011 would continue to build on this most recent success.

Pons said that next year there would be more air links between Minorca and other European cities and that initial market soundings were indicating that there were going to be 5 percent more visitors from the United Kingdom next season. The rest of the Balearics, one source said, could only expect a rise of 3 percent in British tourists for the same period.

Efforts are still being made to promote all-year-round tourism on Minorca through encouraging the retired to visit out of season, and more recent initiatives such as excursionism and the round-the-island horse trekking.

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