Despite talk of the loss of tourists because of the doubling of the tourist tax and the recovery of competitor destinations, noises emerging from the Fitur international tourism fair suggest that the Balearics are on course for yet another record summer.
The leading hotel groups - Barceló, Globalia, Iberostar, Meliá, Piñero and Riu - are all pointing to there being higher occupancy than last year. There is still plenty of capacity to be sold, but the general view is that sales are currently going well. The word from Barceló, Globalia and Iberostar was much the same. The Balearics are going to have an exceptional tourism season. (This said, Carmen Riu, when confronting President Armengol during the debate at the Exceltur pre-Fitur conference, reckoned that the doubling of the tourist tax will mean the loss of tourists.)
Investment in hotel modernisation is also destined to be high this year. Before the tourism season's official start of 1 May, it is estimated that 300 million euros will have been invested. This relates to projects that had been registered with the tourism ministry by July last year. There is, however, some uncertainty as to what will happen when these projects are finished. The deadline for project registration expired in July; this was under the terms of the 2012 tourism law.
President Armengol, the tourism minister Bel Busquets and the finance minister Catalina Cladera held a meeting with the new faces at the head of the Majorca Hoteliers Federation, and there was discussion of the impact of the special economic regime (REB) that is due to be implemented later this year. The REB will include tax incentives for hotel companies which invest in technology innovation. In addition to the new fund for Balearic insularity, the national finance ministry has promised that there will be investment in innovation projects in the tourism sector.
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