Monnaber Nou Rural Hotel in Campanet - open all year. |


For the first ten months of 2022, rural tourism in Mallorca and the Balearics registered a record number of travellers - 368,846. This figure exceeds those for the whole of 2018 and 2019; in both those years the total numbers were around 330,000.

As a segment, rural tourism groups together rural hotels and houses and also agrotourism establishments. The growth in 2022 followed what was increased interest in rural tourism during the pandemic. Mallorca's countryside and the accommodation to be discovered in the island's interior offered health benefits in terms of social distancing, and an upward trend - now that normality has returned - has been maintained.

Reports about Mallorca's tourism - occupancy, overnight stays, etc. - tend to focus on either Palma or on the coastal resorts. When, for example, the Mallorca Hoteliers Federation gives its figures, it is referring overwhelmingly to the resorts. The hotels of its members are (generally speaking) by the coast, but the federation represents only some 50% of all establishments. Not all hotel groups in resorts are members, but then there are also all the small concerns, many of which are located in the interior. And out of season, a good number stay open.

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Miquel Artigues is the president of the Balearic Association of Agrotourism and Interior Tourism. He says that this year's season was "pretty good, we cannot complain". Maria Gibert of the Habtur holiday rentals association points to there having been more or less full occupancy of accommodation in the island's interior between March and October. Jordi Cerdó, president of the FETV federation of holiday stays in Mallorca, says that average occupancy in rural houses during the season was 87%.

While the pandemic undoubtedly played its part in driving demand, the development of interior tourism also owes much to what happened some years ago, when the Balearic tourism ministry - then controlled by the Partido Popular - required municipalities to come up with tourism strategies. Individual town halls responded, while one of the greatest successes has arguably been that of the 'mancomunidad' (commonwealth) of municipalities in Mallorca's Pla region.

Despite this, Artigues complains about a lack of understanding on behalf of legislators. "Authorities have a tendency to standardise us as hotels, but agrotourism was not created solely with a tourist purpose. It was to also help make farms viable and revitalise the economy of inland villages."

In the third quarter of this year, there were 664,200 overnight stays, almost 10% more than in the same quarter of 2019. German visitors have long provided the main customer base for the rural holiday segment; up to 50% in the pre-pandemic years. Meanwhile, the Spanish market has been growing.