Cars at a site on the Son Oms industrial estate. | Miquel À. Cañellas

Ramón Reus, president of the Aevab association of car-hire firms, calculates that there are some 90,000 vehicles for rent in the Balearics.

Bookings, he says, have been much as had been forecast. "Up to Easter, things went well. May and June were quiet, while in July some 75 to 80% of the hire-car fleet is in demand. Average prices, according to Reus, are around 35 euros a day; the average length of booking is four days.

These prices have come down, he adds, in order to compete with prices in competitor destinations such as Turkey. Despite the competition, he stresses that the hire-car sector places the emphasis on quality and not on quantity. The current season, he notes, is not like recent ones, but firms on the islands are continuing to strengthen their quality. For the tourism industry as a whole, Reus believes, the future lies with quality. To this end, troublesome aspects which reduce this quality, e.g. "excesses" in Magalluf and Playa de Palma, need to be "eradicated".

Reus is concerned by misleading prices and publicity that emanate from certain companies which have not signed up to the government's consumer affairs code of practice. These companies offer cars for under five euros a day. The real price isn't anything like this because of additional charges.

Car-hire firms which have signed up to the code of practice are checked by the consumer affairs department. If they adhere to the code, they are provided with the seal that proves this to clients.