More passengers are expected to arrive this season to Mallorca. | R.L.

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Despite feeling abnormally early, last weekend was heralded as the start of the tourist season. TUI Fly began its operations from Germany to Mallorca and, together with Eurowings, Ryanair, Lufthansa and Condor, there were no less than 57 scheduled flights between the countries on Saturday - a figure that hasn’t been seen since the winter before the pandemic. This flurry of interest meant that 26% of establishments within the Mallorca Hoteliers Federation decided to throw open their doors - versus just 11% in 2019. This will rise to 42% on 1 March, coinciding with the launch of TUI’s UK flight programme. Hotel room bookings, and indeed car-hire reservations, are said to be gathering pace from one day to the next, demonstrating a great desire to travel. It certainly bodes well for a vibrant and rewarding summer.

Foreigners fuel hike in house prices

Foreigners, Germans in particular, are being framed for boundless house price rises in the Balearics. Latest figures released by the General Council of Notaries detailed that 56,272 properties had been snapped up by foreign buyers over the last ten years - with Germans at the forefront. It is not without coincidence that the Islands also have the highest average price per square metre in Spain. In 2010, this stood at 2,524 euros, and today it’s a mighty 40% higher at 3,607 euros per square metre. (The average price for the whole of Spain is 1,863 euros.) President Armengol has highlighted that the thirst for second homes has made the property market increasingly less affordable for the local population. There is a suggestion that house buying among foreign citizens should be limited, but it’s not an easy problem to solve.

Russian troops return to base?

On Tuesday, Russia claimed to have withdrawn some troops from the Ukrainian border, raising hopes of a larger-scale climb-down. A spokesperson from the Russian Ministry of Defence said that a number of units had completed their ‘military exercises’ and were now returning to base - images were published to support this assertion. Senior White House officials disagreed, saying the opposite had happened, with Russia in fact increasing its presence by several thousand. Tensions continue to escalate.

Prince Andrew settles

Also on Tuesday, the Queen’s middle son settled the civil sexual assault case filed against him by Virginia Giuffre for an ‘undisclosed sum’. In the statement, there was no admission of guilt. Andrew also offered a substantial donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity supporting victim’s rights. The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year can now go ahead without the embarrassment of his court-room grilling.

Inflation continues apace

Having released a flash estimate of 6% a couple of weeks ago, the Spanish Consumer Price Index was confirmed to have risen by 6.1% year-on-year in January. This is down from the 6.5% in the 12 months to December. Stripping out volatile food and energy prices, core inflation was 2.4%, the highest since 2012, and up from the 2.1% reading of December.

Djokovic willing to forgo chance to become world’s greatest

In his first interview since Melbourne, Novak Djokovic told the BBC that he was prepared to miss future Grand Slams, and forgo the chance to become statistically the greatest player to ever have picked up a racquet, because he felt so strongly about the COVID-19 vaccine. While distancing himself from the anti-vax movement, Novak confirmed that he hadn’t received any doses of the vaccine as the principles of decision making on his body were “more important than any title or anything else”.

Record-breaking year

Later in the week, the uplifting travel industry news continued with the revelation that Palma’s International Airport would receive more flights and passengers than ever this year. Over 31 million seats are programmed between April and October - 11.5% more than 2019 - with airlines using larger aircraft to cope with latent demand. This will be the biggest passenger and aircraft movement in Son Sant Joan’s history.

Storm Eunice: death and disruption

The week in Palma de Mallorca ended with sunshine, highs of 17 degrees, and gentle south-westerly winds. This was in sharp contrast to the UK, where record-breaking 122 mile per hour gusts were recorded off the coast of the Isle of Wight as Storm Eunice wreaked havoc across the nation. Schools and businesses closed, trains, buses, ferries and flights were cancelled, and thousands of homes were left without power. Falling trees and flying debris claimed several lives, while the clean-up operation is set to cost hundreds of millions. Thoughts are with readers across Northern Europe.