Events at the Palacio de Congresos are benefiting Palma hotels. | MDB


Boutique hotels in Palma's old city are said to be benefiting from activities at the Palacio de Congresos. During May, they have been registering record numbers in terms of occupancy, and these are being attributed to conference and exhibition tourism.

Javier Vich, president of the Palma and Cala Major Hoteliers Association, says that demand is at a such a high level that hotels are having to be careful not to overbook, especially between Thursdays and Sundays. This is something that "has not happened before in May".

Last week, the managing director of the Palacio complex, Ramon Vidal, reported on better than forecast performance over the first nine months of the Palacio's operations (it opened on 1 April 2017) and pointed to a doubling in the number of attendees this year. He explains that predictions in the business plan are being superseded because of the number of events for what are lucrative sectors of the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) market - medical and technology.

Vich adds that average occupancy of hotels in the city is 80%, but some hotels are up to 95%, while they are totally full at weekends. It would seem that these establishments are gaining because of a boom in "bleisure" (business-leisure) tourism. Before the Palacio opened, Meliá Hotels International, which manages the complex, had identified the growth in bleisure as an important factor.

Vidal believes that Palma has become a bleisure destination, and the impact is shown in hotel performance. However the tourism is defined - bleisure or MICE - it has led to 22,000 overnight stays in May. This would have been "unthinkable a year ago".

There is of course another factor that might be playing a part in the increased occupancy, and that is the crackdown on rentals.