The airport on Saturday. | Teresa Ayuga

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Mallorca's summer tourism season is traditionally defined as starting on the first of May. But there obviously is a season prior to this, not least because of Easter, while it was the case - pre-Covid - that an ever-increasing number of hotels were opening well before Easter.

Cycling and hiking have been two activities which have contributed to greater and earlier tourism activity, the German market having been particularly strong. In this regard, and over this weekend, there has been a significant increase in flights from Germany. One tour operator, TUI, started adding flights from more German airports on Friday, the company explaining that this scheduling for February had become normal before the pandemic.

Other German tour operators have initiated operations, and Palma Son Sant Joan Airport has had some 200 flights per day over the weekend. While these have mostly been from Germany, there have been flights from elsewhere, including the UK. For TUI, March 1 will be when its UK programme really starts.

María José Durán, operations manager for TUI Fly in Mallorca, says: "We are starting the season with the same frequency of flights as in the pre-pandemic season, the volume is the same and the trend seems positive."

The flights help to explain why some 26% of establishments affiliated to the Mallorca Hoteliers Federation are opening this month. Playa de Palma is the main centre, but Durán adds that TUI is also taking holidaymakers to Cala Millor, Cala Ratjada, Paguera and Puerto Soller. Twenty-six per cent may not sound like a lot, but it is even compared with the pre-pandemic 2019. For all hotels in Mallorca, according to Balearic tourism ministry statistics, eleven per cent were open in February 2019.

For other businesses in the tourism sector, this weekend has also been positive. Ana Bailón of Sixt says that there were around seventy car-hire reservations last weekend. These have increased to 260 this weekend. A taxi driver, Alicia Vich, says that she has had some foreign customers over the winter but that there is now more activity at the airport and so more customers. "It's very positive that the season is starting earlier."

A Transunion coach driver, Llorenç Carrió, explains that workers at his company were on ERTE furlough terms until the start of this month. Now, and even if current Covid travel measures remain in place, "the forecasts are good and we hope to be able to work until the end of the year".