Palma.—The Balearics should take advantage of recent political changes in the Eastern Mediterranean to extend its tourist markets and encourage visitors to make repeat visits, Ignacio Angulo, Spanish Tourist Board representative in Milan said yesterday.

The sentiment has been echoed in Spanish Tourist Board offices in Berlin and Paris, with sources saying that although winter bookings might not be particularly good amongst its traditional key client markets, the Balearics should concentrate on taking advantage of the political turmoil in Morocco, Tunisia and principally Egypt so that its tourist industry grows, despite the fact that funds set aside for tourism promotion in the Balearics might have been cut significantly.

The Tourist Board pointed out that this year, tourists have been veering away from intended holiday destinations in the Eastern Mediterranean and heading to the Canary Islands and to a lesser extent, the Balearics, as travel industry representatives are increasingly worried about changes in the attitude of local people in North Africa to visitors. There is concern over the political victory of Islamist groups in holiday destinations in the Eastern Mediterranean which could have an effect on the consumption of alcohol and wearing of bathing costumes. Angulo clarified that the Italian market is making constant headway in the Balearics, evidenced by the number of visitors who came to the Islands from 2010 up until October 2011, increases of 27 and 10.6 percent respectively.

But, it is still the UK and German markets which dominate and have shown the largest growth. Ignacio Vasallo, the new Director of the Spanish Tourist Board in Paris, has declared that the French market in the Balearics is very small and that a “ridiculous” quantity of less than 300'000 visit Majorca each year. Furthermore, it has registered no growth since 2000, and this, according to Vasallo is owed in part to the fact that the French have a perception of the Balearics as being “over developed.”


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