Early holiday bookings to the Balearics for summer 2017 have risen by eight per cent, easing fears over the weakness of the pound and Brexit, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) said in London today.
The news will come as a welcome boost for the Balearic government and leading local councils who head to London tomorrow for the all-important World Travel Market fair which is taking place at the Excel Centre in Docklands.
And the news gets even better for Balearic president Francina Armengol and tourism minister Biel Barcelo. According to ABTA, the controversial tourist tax has had no impact on holiday sales at all.
Sean Tipton, spokesperson for ABTA, did warn that it was still early days and obviously the Brexit situation and the low pound could hit the Balearics but so far so good for the islands with another record summer on the horizon in 2017.
"After a good season you generally find that there is a small decline the following year, but not for the Balearics," said Tipton.
The message from ABTA will be music to the ears of the local delegation to the travel fair who had feared a massive drop in holiday bookings as a result of the low pound.
ABTA did warn that there could be a growth in all-inclusive packages because of the lower pound as British families sought even greater value for money. "The Balearics is a wonderful holiday destination and there are still some security concerns over resorts in north Africa," added Tipton.
The ABTA spokesperson said that January and February, the key booking months, would be crucial but there was no sign that the islands were losing their appeal for British holidaymakers.
Tipton said that many tour operators buy their foreign currency in advance and therefore are largely immune to the weakness and strength of sterling.
It has been widely reported that Majorcan hoteliers would be looking to cash in on the record holiday season by raising their prices for next year but ABTA warned that this could cause problems in the long term.
"If customers perceive a destination to be expensive this can cause problems because a reputation takes a long time to shake off," he said. The chief competitors for the Balearics remain largely the same - the Canary Islands, Greece, Cyprus and Portugal - but resorts in the eastern Mediterranean such as Bulgaria, which are much cheaper, could also enjoy a good season next year as a result of the weakness of sterling.
The message from a rather cold and grey London is clear: not even Brexit and the low pound are going to end the British love affair with the Balearics.