Off-season holidays for senior citizens within the Balearics are being revived.

24-10-2011T. Mercadal

Mundosenior Plus, the Globalia and Barceló joint venture for off-season vacations for pensioners, has revived its offer for inter-island travel in the Balearics. The Mundosenior inter-island plan, which is purely private in that there are no state or regional subsidies, was dropped in 2011. It used to have regional government assistance, but this was something that was cut as part of general austerity measures.

The first tourists from Majorca will go to Ibiza on 5 October and to Minorca from the middle of November. There will in all be around 2,000 places under the plan; almost half of them are already sold.

Toni Abrines, the president of the Balearic travel agents association (Aviba), says that Mundosenior will meet latent demand and plug a gap that has existed since 2011. The price for eight days is 270 euros, and Abrines believes that the vacationers will assist in reducing the impact of seasonality and in revitalising tourist resorts. The price includes return flights, hotel, transfers, full board, travel and health insurance and meals when out on trips.

Aviba asked the regional government last autumn to reinstate the inter-island holidays. These had originally started in 1997 under the name Pla Oci 60. Up to 2011, over 130,000 people took advantage of them. The cost to the government was by then 1.3 million euros. That grant was cut, and so the holiday programme was dropped.

The director-general of tourism, Pilar Carbonell, responded positively to the Aviba request but without making any firm commitment. Mundosenior, therefore, has stepped in. The two partners clearly have some advantages: ones that can allow them to arrive at economic prices without the need for subsidies. Air Europa, part of Globalia, will be taking care of the flights.

The other senior citizens programme - the Mundiplan Imserso subsidised scheme, which is a joint venture between Iberia, IAG7 travel agencies, the Gowaii travel company and transport operator Alsa - is expected to bring its first tourists to the Balearics in the middle of October. This programme will last until mid-May. Mundiplan has availability of just over 200,000 places, but actual sales are not known.

Coming back to the inter-island plan, hotelier associations in Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza say that the programme represents an important aid for the low season, as it helps with maintaining employment, keeping hotels open and assisting with the economy.

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