The highly contagious Omicron variant has meant a decrease in demand for holidays. | Archive

The Omicron variant has paralysed holiday bookings to Mallorca throughout Europe for this Christmas, according to hotel chains on the Island, tour operators and Central European tourist groups. At the same time, German airlines are already announcing massive cancellations of flights to the Balearic Islands for January and February, due to the fall in demand because of this last viral strain.

"The paralysis is absolute by the latest restrictions approved, mainly by the British and German governments to nip in the bud the contagions of the Omicron during the next two weeks. The situation is worrying and the only thing that saves us is that we are in the middle of the low season," said commercial directors of hotel chains.

The new restrictions oblige travellers coming to Mallorca and the rest of the islands to present a PCR upon their return to their countries to avoid quarantine. Hotel companies are concerned because many reservations made may not be confirmed: "There are few cancellations, but the reservations we have made may later become what we call no shows, that is, they do not show up. The flexibility that prevails throughout Europe by the pandemic exempts from paying any penalty if a tourist does not show up at the establishment that has booked," said chains and from the Hotel Association of Palma.

This market dynamic, with so many uncertainties, is what has led European airline groups such as Lufthansa (which includes Eurowings, Swiss, Austria Airlines and Brussels Airlines) to announce the mass cancellation of flights to the Balearic Islands and other Mediterranean destinations, as well as to the Caribbean, as a result of the negative impact of the omicron on bookings for January and February. The CEO of Lufthansa Group, Carsten Spohr, has announced to the German press that they are taking this decision "due to the low demand in our main markets, hence the cancellation of flights during these two months, where there will be a very low activity".