Fewer hotels will be open in March this year. | Archive

The late Easter this year - Easter Sunday is 21 April - means that many hotels will open later than last year. The president of the hotel chains association, Gabriel Llobera, suggests that low demand from key markets like the UK and Germany is also influencing decisions to delay opening by some six weeks and wait until the start of May.

Last year, when Easter Sunday was 1 April, a great number of hotels were open in March. But this clearly owed much to the fact that Easter was earlier. Based on passenger arrival figures at Palma's Son Sant Joan Airport, there were 704,683 visitors in March 2018. This compared with 593,830 in March 2017. Easter Sunday in 2017 was 16 April, similar to this year therefore. As a result of the greater numbers in March 2018, there was a fall in April last year of some 40,000.

If one compares 2017 with 2016 (Easter Sunday was 27 March in 2016), there was a decrease in the number of passengers in March 2017 of over 60,000. The later Easter in 2017 saw passenger numbers rise by over 200,000 in April compared with April 2016.

The arrivals figures do not of course equate directly to the number of tourists. A rule of thumb is that tourist numbers are some 20% lower. Nevertheless, the arrivals figures show how the timing of Easter influences tourist numbers and will therefore also influence decisions to open hotels or not.

There is, however, some rightful concern that tourist numbers are going to be down in any event and that Easter this year will be hit. The rise of over 200,000 in April 2017 can probably be looked upon as having been a peak, and that rise was certainly influenced by problems in competitor destinations.