Fewer hire cars expected in 2019. | Javier Coll

This tourism season, there are going to be an estimated 20,000 fewer hire cars available in the Balearics, a reduction of 15 per cent, according to the hire car sector.

The principal reason is an anticipated drop in the number of holidaymakers. The multinationals have decided to cut potential losses and relocate their vehicles to competing destinations such as Greece and Turkey.

For the Spanish hire car firms, it poses something of a headache because, with Spain in general braced for a contraction in the tourist industry, they have fewer options with regard to where to redistribute their unwanted vehicles.

What the smaller, independent operators are worried about is how much of a knock this is going to have on their businesses. Many have been struggling for years to stay afloat in the face of mounting and aggressive competition from the larger players. This year, with a smaller slice of the market to share, some rental agencies are concerned about their future.

The reduction in the size of the fleet in the Balearics and other areas of Spain has also hit vehicle manufacturers which have seen demand for new vehicles decline as well. There will obviously be fewer rentals cars on the roads this year, especially during peak season, and this should lead to a reduction in traffic congestion.