A general view of Paguera. | Gabriel Alomar

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As if confirmation were actually needed as to the rising cost of staying in hotels in Majorca and the Balearics, the National Statistics Institute has provided it anyway. It reveals that between January and October this year hotel prices increased by 31.7%.

This was the highest increase in the country and by some distance as well. There was a nationwide average rise of 18.3%, but in other main regions of the country the increases were below this average. In Catalonia they went up by 16.5% and in the Madrid region the rise was 12.1%. In Aragon there was a 20% increase, which was the closest any other region got to the Balearics.

At the recent World Travel Market in London, tourism minister Biel Barceló referred to the increased profits being made by hotel groups. This was positive in that the profits have enabled the wage negotiations for the sector to arrive at a 17% increase spread over the next four years. For the government, therefore, increased hotel profits are a good thing so long as they are reflected in the labour market and in working conditions.

The hoteliers justify their increased prices by pointing to raised levels of quality and to the amount of investment that has gone into improving quality. While there is some justification in this, there is also the fact that Balearic prices have reflected the surge in demand created by geopolitical issues in certain parts of the Mediterranean. These issues, as is being stressed on an almost daily basis, are far less serious than they were. Demand is therefore returning to destinations such as Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey.

While the doubling in the summer season rate of the tourist tax has captured most of the attention recently, this increase is in a sense the final straw for some holidaymakers who have been able to make comparisons of prices in different destinations and discovered that they are that much lower elsewhere. Prices in the Balearics have gone up this year and they have gone up for 2018 as well.

For the government, however, the price increases appear to be nothing but positive. As the tourism minister says, there can't be any more growth in summer tourism. The hoteliers, meanwhile, complain that a doubling of the tourist tax could result in the loss of one million tourists in 2018 but make no reference to the fact that their prices might just also be a factor.