By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
THE late improvement in the Balearic tourist industry continued last month with tourism spending up by 12.2 percent, in comparison to October last year, and the sharp rise has finally pushed the region's tourism figures into the red.

The Balearic Minister for Tourism, Joana Barcelo, presented the data, provided by the Ministry for Tourism, Commerce and Industry in Madrid, yesterday and said that the positive spending figures for the past couple of months will help significantly to off set the losses the sector incurred during the very tough and slow start to the year.

In total, foreign visitors to the Balearics spent 670 million euros last month and the 12.2 increase is the sharpest October rise since 2004, while the total amount of money spent by foreign and national visitors was 760 million euros.

The balance since the start of the year now stands at a 2.3 percent increase in the number of tourists and a one percent rise in tourism spending.
According to Barcelo, the average daily expenditure by tourists last month rose for the fifth consecutive month in October to an average of 97 euros, one euro above the national average.

The Minister said that the average daily spend during the first ten months of the year was now at 110 euros.
The Director General for Strategic Planning, Llorenç Pou revealed that the total amount of money spent by the 8'975'000 tourists who have visited the region between January and October stands at 8'535 million euros.

However, as the Bulletin reported recently, the hotel sector has not benefited from the slight increase in visitors as it would have liked and the latest figures show that hotel occupancy during the first ten months of the year was 5.6 percent lower than the same period last year.

Obviously, Majorca enjoyed the largest slice of the income, 526 million euros to be exact while in Minorca, 36 million was spent by visitors to the island and in Ibiza, 96 million euros.

One of the markets which has driven the increase in spending has been the Nordic tourism market while spending in the dominant UK and German markets either fell slightly or remained flat. But, just like the hoteliers, there are resort traders who have seen little, or none of the extra expenditure.

The majority of bars and restaurants in resorts such as Magalluf and Palmanova have complained that this season has been just as poor as last year and very few establishments are going to be remaining open this winter.

For the Spanish tourist industry as a whole, it enjoyed its sixth consecutive growth in monthly expenditure with a total of 4'289 million euros being spent by tourists across the country during October, 5.3 percent more than during the same period last year.

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