German tourists in Playa de Palma. | Teresa Ayuga


The directors of Spain's tourism offices in London, Berlin, Munich, Paris, Brussels, Stockholm and The Hague gathered at the Meliá Palma Bay Hotel on Friday for a meeting with the national tourism agency, Turespaña, and the Majorca Hoteliers Federation.

Francisco Javier Piñanes, the London director, reported that UK bookings for Majorca this year are currently up by 3%. The president of the hoteliers federation, Inma Benito, observed that there are no signs of Brexit having an impact on demand. However, a concerning aspect is the level of spending. The UK tourist typically parts with some 900 euros per person, while the average for all tourists is around 200 euros higher.

While the UK market is performing reasonably, there was mixed news about the German and French markets. Álvaro Blanco Volmer, the director in Munich, said that German bookings for the Balearics as a whole are between eight to twelve per cent down on 2016, which he described as "a very good year". A repetition of the 2016 figures, he noted, "would be something spectacular".

He added that it is time to stop talking in terms of the number of tourists and start speaking about the millions of euros. Blanco noted that tourists with lower spending power are tending to go elsewhere. Investment in quality in Majorca is therefore having something of the desired effect by attracting the higher spending clientele who come to the island throughout the year. This is therefore something of the opposite compared with the UK market. He observed that the profile of the typical German tourist coming to Majorca is a mature person and suggested that younger tourists have less interest in the island. Measures need to be adopted to attract this younger market.

The French market, said Elena Valdés of the Paris office, is down 4.1% for Balearic holidays. This is attributable in large part to the state of the French economy. Tourists are opting to stay in France or are looking at cheaper destinations such as Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Turkey. Tour operators are having to lower prices for the Balearics in the face of competition from, for instance Tunisia, where there are all-inclusive packages of between 300 and 400 euros.

Sweden provides very positive news. Tourism to Majorca increased by 26% last year, and a similar rise is anticipated this year. The Swedes are not returning to Turkey, Octavio González Manteca, the Stockholm director, observed. Indeed, there is a further fall of 40%. The prospects for the Benelux market are also very positive. Ana Román said that tourists are deterred by the prospect of more terrorism in Turkey and also pointed to the exceptionally high spending by Dutch tourists.