Tourist spending has increased this year even though there has been a slight fall in tourist numbers. For the Balearic government and for hoteliers, there has been some satisfaction because of this. However, the breakdown of spending reveals a rather distorted story.

Figures from the Balearics Statistics Institute (Ibestat), which themselves draw on the national survey of tourist spending (Egatur), show that while spending on hotel accommodation has risen, other spending has not or has in fact gone down. The Ibestat figures highlight what was known to be the case - the price of hotels went up this year.

Between January and July the spending by tourists - foreign and national - rose by 1.17%. But spending on hotel accommodation went up by 6.7%. This was for bookings that were not part of packages and so were either made direct or through online travel agencies. Spending on food increased by just 0.46%, while that for activities (which include excursions) went down over one per cent.

The data also show that while spending in hotels (other than on the accommodation) went up by 4.8%, the equivalent spending outside hotels was down 9.4%.

In the Bulletin we have consistently drawn attention to how tourist spending figures are arrived at. There is, for example, a significant element for the cost of the holiday. Therefore, the spending figures reflect the price of package holidays or - in the case of independent travellers - airline tickets, transfers and accommodation. As such, concluding that spending has increased may well be true, but this conclusion doesn't necessarily reflect experience once in the destination.