Hotels might not open for Easter. Archive photo. | T. AYUGA

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Easter Sunday is only nine days earlier this year (12 April) than in 2019, but this is sufficient for hotels in the Balearics to be planning delays in opening for the season until May.

The president of the Association of Hotel Chains, Gabriel Llobera, says that the earlier Easter means that hoteliers aren’t willing to risk having a few days in April when they have occupancy but will be mostly empty for the rest of the month.

María José Aguiló, the executive vice-president of the Majorca Hoteliers Federation, points to the so-called Easter effect not applying this year.

As a consequence, hoteliers will delay starting employment contracts.The tourism season will therefore be shortened. “The situation is difficult,” she adds, “but that’s how it is at the moment”.

German economy
The earlier Easter is, however, just one factor. As has been stated repeatedly over the past few months, there is the revived competition from other destinations, while Brexit and the German economy are two other potentially negative factors.

Llobera suggests that there may be some hotel chains which opt not to open for the first time, adding that sales of tour operator packages are at a minimum. “It is going to be a difficult year for the Balearic holiday hotel industry,” he believes.

Figures from the Spanish association which coordinates airline slots indicate that at present there will be an eight per cent decrease in seats on planes flying into Palma’s Son Sant Joan Airport between January and April. However, this average rises to 14.5% in March. In terms of flight scheduling, there is an 11% decrease but up to 18.6% in April.

Fall in demand
The Majorca Hoteliers Federation believes that 2020 is going to confirm the fall in demand for the whole of the tourism season and that the figures for the airport back this up.