Iago Negueruela, confident of economic recovery.

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Iago Negueruela, minister for the economic model, tourism and employment, welcomed Thursday's Labour Force Survey report, saying that the figures confirmed a "strong reactivation" in the Balearics, backing up a government anticipation of a full recovery in 2022.

The current figures, he noted at a press conference, are similar to those for 2018 and point to a continuing "solid recovery" in 2022. Although the fourth quarter is a period with the least activity on the islands, the figures highlighted the improvement from 2020.

On average in 2021, 552,900 people were employed in the Balearics, nearly 5% more than in 2020. Given that the first half of 2021 was "tough", pretty much all the improvement came in the second half.

The government expects an earlier start to the tourism season in 2022 than in 2021. "We will not lose a half year like last year," said the minister. He pointed to hotelier forecasts for the remainder of the winter. The number of hotels that will open in February will be low, but this will mark the start of the season. In March, more than 20% of hotels are due to be open. "Things are very different from a year ago, when practically everything was closed and the tourism supplier markets were as well."

Negueruela added that reservations are accelerating thanks to "greater normalisation", and he highlighted increased national tourism spending and the growth of the French market. If these trends are maintained, the Balearics will be able to "recover GDP and the employed working population".