The Balearics, like the rest of the country is heading for another record tourism year. | Teresa Ayuga


Palma.—Now that the Easter holidays have kicked off, the positive outlook for Spain’s tourism and hotel sector  is  yet another record-beating season.
During this week, the occupancy rate in some tourism areas in the Balearics and Andalusia will be almost 100%, while on the Canary Islands nearly 90% occupancy is predicted.

UK market
For example, the Meliá group expects an increase of over 6% in average occupancy in Spanish holiday hotels, as well as an improvement in prices from 2016.
With respect to the uncertainty generated by Brexit, the hoteliers are more confident that the UK market will still show a positive trend and that bookings will continue to grow.
In addition, the Easter week break will create no less than 160,000 jobs, and that’s on the low side: Randstad is estimating a record 162,500 contracts and the experts are talking about an “exceptional” boost at the start of the year, which will delay the announced slowdown in job creation.
ACF analyst think the news is positive for Spain’s hotel sector and, in particular, for the listed hotel firms Meliá y NH. They add:
    “We believe that this kind of news benefits Meliá more due to the fact it has a greater holiday hotel component (60% of its rooms).
“We should also remember that Spain will once again be a leverage for 2017e growth for both hotel companies, in both their holiday and urban locations.
“We expect them to again register the biggest increase in RevPar at their domestic establishments.”
The figures are in line with the  Trips and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017  from the World Economic Forum.
 According to this index, Spain continues for the second year running as a leader in world tourism in terms of its competitiveness, due to its combined offer of cultural and natural resources, as well as its solid tourism services’ infrastructure. The report, which is published every two years, covers 136 countries in total.
So Spain (with 5.43 points) is once again ahead of countries like France, with 5.32 points and Germany, third with 5.28 points – they also both hold the same position as in 2015.
 But one of the worst figures in Spain is its price competitiveness.
It comes 99th in the rankings, behind other destinations like Iran, Egypt, Malaysia or Algeria.

Security issues
Some Balearic hoteliers and hotel chains have hiked their prices by as much as 19 percent this year knowing that it is going to be a strong season simply because of the security problem dogging many of the islands’ main competitors.
However, at the moment, Greece is very much the most sought after destination in the UK because it has dropped its prices and made a serious effort to revive its tourist industry.
Even Turkey is posting better figures than last year, so summer 2018 could pose a challenge unless prices are reassessed.