Palma de Majorca.—Association President Gonzalo Echevarría confirmed yesterday that occupancy levels were well below those which had been forecast .... “and even the predictions had been underplayed,” he said.

According to Echevarria, bookings for the week just ended (which included two separate public holiday dates) at hotels of four stars or higher remaining open in Palma during the low season were between just 15 and 20 percent. In lower hotel categories he said, occupancy levels barely reached 25 percent. “From the point of view of return on investment,” said Echevarría, “ it has to be remembered that some establishments had a workforce of 80 people in place during a week that brought the hotels little business.”

Asked why he believed there had been such a low turnout during a national break which saw many people taking a complete week's holiday, Echevarría blamed the economic crisis in the first instance, but added that the lack of direct flight routes to the Balearics at this time of year was also a factor.

Because there are so relatively few seats available, he explained, the cost of tickets automatically rises. “Those people who might have been considering visiting us may well have been put off for that reason,” he claimed, “particularly family groups.” The accumulation of factors, Echevarría said, could well mean that there will be similar disappointment for hoteliers in the fututre.
However, on a brighter note, he said that the tourist industry in Palma was now working hand in hand with service businesses and the City Council to map out a strategy to attract visitors during the low season.

Meanwhile on-line reservations watchdogs have commented that uncertainty over the Iberia pilots strike may have deterred people from booking to come to Majorca.