There could be a battle for spaces on the Balearic beaches this summer.

05-07-2015Gemma Andreu

There are mounting concerns of overbooking in the Balearics over the next couple of months as British holiday makers turn their attention to the island in the wake of the Tunisia attack and the crisis in Greece.Political and terrorist acts across the Mediterranean have reduced people’s options of where they want to  holiday.
There are already reports from travel agents up and down the UK that concerned customers are being offered free cancellations in the wake of the massacre in Tunisia and clients are quickly opting to come to Spain with Majorca and Minorca being the most sought after destinations, followed by Portugal.
But, it is not only Tunisia, to which the Foreign Office has advised Britons not to travel, which is suffering.
Greece’s debt crisis has hit tourism, with last-minute bookings falling sharply, although the impact on the industry may be limited because the flare-up has come late in the season when most summer holidays are already booked.
The Greek Tourism Confederation said yesterday that it has seen a 30 percent drop in last-minute bookings, which typically account for one-fifth of bookings to the country. Travel website Opodo.de said Greece flight bookings from Germany and the UK, which had been tracking the levels of the previous year, suddenly dropped off after 26 June, when talks broke down between Greece and its euro zone creditors.
Between 27 June and 6   July, daily flight bookings have been down most days by around 30-35 percent from the previous year, with one day showing a decrease of 68 percent and again, the Balearics are proving one of the most popular destinations.
But, this sudden swing in the market has sparked fears that there could be problems of overbooking  as we enter into the peak of the summer season.
Airlines have denied claims that they have increased flights to the Balearics and other Spanish destinations, but demand in travel agents is driving the market.
And, travel agents have warned the industry  to expect a very tough late booking market amid concerns over certain short-haul destinations and reduced capacity.
According to industry sources in the UK, people do not want to go to Turkey, Tunisia or Egypt and now Greece is being crossed off the holiday wish list, so the options for a short haul holiday destination have been significantly reduced and most Britons want to make the most of the strong pound and holiday in the Eurozone with Spain and the Balearics attracting a  great deal of interest.
But, the problem is that while there may be extra  flight seats available, there may not be the bed spaces and this is when the region could be faced with the problem of overbooking.
Also, due to capacity in the market having been reduced by the troubles, airlines have increased their fares to the most in demand resorts.
Thomas Cook,  customers, for example,  who were booked to go to Tunisia are allowed to change their holiday free of charge until the end of the summer season (October) and sources said yesterday that the majority of those customers wishing to change their destination are opting for Majorca.
What this could mean is that Majorca enjoys a much busier end to the summer season, which will be welcomed by the local hotel industry and resort businesses - it could also persuade some hoteliers to remain open  longer to handle the overspill caused by the insecurity in some of the region’s main competing destinations.

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