THE Balearic government has just announced that it has been a record-breaking year for tourism, with 12.2 million people visiting the islands between January and November, more than any other complete year. In presenting the figures, Joan Flaquer, the tourism minister, said that the exact number of visitors was 12'272'323, and that 341'707 of them came to the Balearics in November.

He added it was a 7.4 per cent increase over the first 11 months of 2005.
He interpreted the figures as a new advance in efforts to lengthen the tourist season.
He put average hotel occupancy during the first 11 months of the year at 75.8 per cent, 3.8 percentage points better than last year. Jobwise, it was also a good year, with an average of 75'116 workers, 2.9 per cent more than last year. Majorca is still the most popular of the Balearics, with an increase of 8.5 per cent in the number of visitors in the first 11 months of the year.
Ibiza and Formentera saw numbers rise by 4.8 per cent, but growth in Minorca was merely 0.5 per cent.
The British are still the second biggest group of visitors to the Balearics, said Flaquer, even though numbers this year have grown by only one per cent. This he attributed to problems in the contracting of package tours.
The number of German visitors (the biggest group) rose by 6.2 per cent, while there was a spectacular 22.7 per cent rise in the number of Spanish visitors.

The number of Italian tourists rose by nearly 11 per cent to 460'447 tourists, while the Swiss visitors numbered 249'320, a 41.3 per cent increase, which put them above the French (213'638 visitors). Income from tourism also set another record at 10'993 million euros in the first 11 months of the year, an increase of 7.3 per cent.
The number of night stays rose by seven per cent to 122'531'110.
The minister pointed out that in 2002, the start of the current legislature, income from tourism had been 6'808 million euros, 4'000 million euros less. However, it should be remembered that the euro came into circulation on January 1, 2002, and this had a great repercussion on tourist behaviour.
No fewer than 11.7 million of the 12.2 million tourists arrived in the Balearics by air.
This is 1.7 million more than in the same period in 2002, although once again it should be remembered that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, led to a huge drop in the sale of air tickets throughout the world. Flaquer went on to say that the Balearics was the second most popular destination in Spain for tourists in the first 11 months of the year, attracting 18.1 per cent of the total. This figure put it behind Catalonia but ahead of the Canary Islands and Andalucia. However, the ministry has no intention of resting on its laurels, and its campaign to capture more domestic tourists will continue over the New Year -the Balearics and its tourist offer will be the penultimate TV advert of the year on the Antena 3 channel. The spot has been produced by Ibatur, the Balearic Tourism Institute and lasts for 20 seconds.