Rural hotel bookings are down by 30 per cent in Majorca and Minorca and the outlook for the winter is bleak. Brigitte Forster, head of the Balearic Agrotourism Association, said yesterday that this year's decline comes after years of constant growth and the global and European economic problems and the Balearics' possibly poor image in key feeler markets are the root cause for the slump. Forster said that last month “was particularly bad” and that there are still rooms left for August. Occupancy is running at 80 per cent, but that, Forster said, is unusually low for August when everywhere has grown used to being full. The Association represents 115 rural hotels, some 1.600 beds. In the short term Forster does not see the situation changing because of the economic situation. She said that over the Autumn it was the German sector, which accounts for 80 per cent of the low season market, which dropped off, but now, the summer-dominant British market, is not performing well. “We're having to look for new and more varied markets,” she said. “We do have a great product however and things will turn around eventually,” she added.

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