Balearic hotels were the busiest in Spain last month, although occupancy levels were seven per cent down on July last year. However, while the National Statistics Institute reported yesterday that July's occupancy rate in the Balearics was 83 per cent, the Majorcan Hotel Federation argues that the rate was more like 80 percent, 11 per cent lower than last July. But, while hoteliers continue to argue and plead poverty, the latest figures indicate that while hotel bookings fell across Spain last month, hotel prices rose. In the Balearics, hotel prices went up last month by around seven per cent, compared to June, well above the national average increase of 2.4 per cent. But there is no fast buck for the hoteliers in the Balearics as bookings for next month are poor. Bookings for September are so far down 10.6 percent on the same month of the previous year, providing more evidence of a weak year for this key sector of the economy. At a national level, hotels filled 65.3 percent of their rooms in July, a 5.5 percent year–on–year drop, although rooms offered rose 2.8 percent in the same period. German visitors, who along with British travellers accounted for 56 percent of non–resident hotel clients in July, led the flight from Spain, with visitor numbers sliding 19.9 percent year–on–year in July. But the number of British visitors climbed 1.5 percent, year on year. Balearic Tourism Minister, Celesti Alomar, has been boosted by July's hotel figures. He said the latest report is “very good” as the figure re-confirms the Balearics' position as the most popular holiday destination in Spain. Alomar explained yesterday that the Balearics' two main competitors, the Canaries and Andalucia have failed to post such high hotel occupancy rates “they're only just above the national average and well below the Balearics.” Alomar said that Minorca performed better than all of the Balearic islands last month and it was the performance of the Minorcan market which has boosted the overall figures and cemented the Balearics' top spot.

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