Some success, it seems, with growing low-season tourism. | Pilar Pellicer

Figures published on Wednesday by the Balearic Institute of Statistics (Ibestat) indicate that between February 14 and 21 there were more than one million people in Mallorca. The maximum was on the twenty-first - 1,017,534. To a resident population of 914,564, as of the first of January, were added more than 100,000 others, overwhelmingly tourists. This was the first time that the one million mark had been reached for the month of February.

To offer an historical context, the maximum in August 1998 was 1,037,872. Twenty-five years later, and a month in the winter season was not far behind a month in high season. The growth of the resident population is obviously a key factor - it was 637,510 in 1998 - but then so also is a growth in tourism.

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The aim of the Balearic government is to not grow total tourist numbers but to redistribute visitors from the high-season months to the months of the low season. Growth in the low season is a means of tackling seasonality, a problem with which Mallorca has grappled ever since the onset of mass tourism. Regardless of anecdotal evidence which has it that Mallorca used to once be much busier in the low season, historical data show that tourist numbers between November and March have never accounted for more than 15% of the annual total; they have been as low as eleven per cent.

This February's figures from Ibestat suggest that there has been some success in growing the low season, but there is no reason to believe that this is due to a redistribution (however this is supposed to be brought about). Forecasts for this summer point to a potentially record tourism season. In August last year, a record was set for human pressure - the total number of people - in Mallorca.

While the resident population has increased by more than 40% over 25 years, projections are for population growth in the region of 400,000 over the next 25 years.