British tourism in the Balearics ended last year on a healthy note and brought some Christmas cheer to the miserable hotel sector. In December the number of British visitors to Majorca posted a 28.8 per cent increase, in contrast to December 1999, and coupled with a 47.6 per cent increase in Minorca, 20.4 per cent more British tourists holidayed in the Balearics at the end of last year. In contrast to the German market, 12.5 per cent more Britons visited Majorca in November, during which 63.3 per cent more Britons travelled to Minorca, resulting in a Balearic increase in the British market of 13.7 per cent. The German market however, is continuing to turn its back on the Balearics, while in November there was a slight increase, just 1.2 per cent, in December the market dropped off 9.1 per cent in comparison to the last two months of 1999. According to Palma airport figures and reports released this week, it is clear that the loyal British market has helped the Balearic tourist industry balance the books at the close of last year. Air traffic dropped off during both November and December by 2.9 and 5.5 per cent respectively. The slump in passengers was mainly due to a combined fall of 39.4 per cent in German air passengers. The Spanish market remained steady but the number of British passengers rose by 10.1 per cent in November and 28.8 per cent in December, falling just 0.5 off compensating for the gap in the German market. Despite the fact that just 25 per cent of the island's accommodation sector was open during December, with the majority closing up for the winter, hotel occupancy was 53.1 per cent, on par with December 1999. In total, 7.9 million tourists visited Majorca last year and 11.2 million to the Balearics as a whole, 0.2 per cent more than in 1999. mc.mdbUbitel.es

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