The Balearics have had a “good” Easter, according to local Minister for Tourism, Celesti Alomar, who said yesterday that hotels have been 80 per cent full over the past week. But while Easter in the Balearics was “good”, tourism authorities along the Cost Del Sol, who welcomed the tourist tax as they expect holidaymakers to turn their backs on the Balearics and opt for the Costas, have reported that hotels have been full. Nevertheless, Alomar, who expects to receive official figures in a few days, is confident that hotel occupancy, despite early fears of a decline, will match last year's figures. In the run up to Easter, tour operators and the airport were reporting an 8.3 per cent fall in holidaymakers and yesterday Palma airport authorities confirmed that over Easter, a 1.8 per cent fall in air traffic was reported. But, Palma's Son Sant Joan, was still the third busiest airport in Spain, after Madrid and Barcelona, handling 11'189 flights and 1'107'657 passengers over the Easter break. Airport figures released yesterday show a decline in passengers flying to the Balearic Islands and the Canaries, but by contrast, airports for Spain's key mainland sunshine spots have registered an increase, especially over the past week and last month. In March, Spanish airports registered a four per cent increase in commercial traffic, but the figure for the Balearics was just under two per cent less than in March 2000. Gran Canaria reported a drop in traffic of 4.8 per cent last month. With regards to the number of international passengers flying in to Spain, the number rose by 7.7 per cent in March, with 1.1 million jetting in to Palma over the Easter period.

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