Gabriel Escarrer of Meliá speaking with Palma mayor, Antoni Noguera, and tourism councillor, Joana Maria Adrover.

07-11-2017

The chief executive of Meliá Hotels International, Gabriel Escarrer, sounded a note of caution at the World Travel Market fair in London yesterday, warning that cheaper destinations in north Africa and Turkey could be a big threat to the Balearics.

He was speaking just hours after President Francina Armengol had said that the islands had nothing to fear from Turkey. Escarrer said that it was still too early to say whether competing resorts would take tourists away from the islands, but he added that the euphoria seen over the last two years at the World Travel Market regarding the British market and the Balearics could be coming to an end.

The drop in the value of sterling and the heavy discounting by resorts in Turkey and north Africa was making them an attractive holiday destination, while the doubling of the tourist tax rate in the Balearics for next season was taking some competitive edge away from local hoteliers. He indicated that the key time for bookings was from now until Christmas and by the end of the year the islands would know how the market was performing.

His thoughts and views were confirmed by other hoteliers at the fair with reports indicating that early bookings to the Balearics for next summer had fallen in Britain.

Turning to other matters, Escarrer, whose company has hotels across the globe including two in London, said that so-called bucket-and-spade tourism was not enough and that the islands must continue to work on other segments such as sporting tourism and to continue opening up other avenues to attract tourists. He underlined the importance of the sun and the beach but stressed the fact that tourists were looking for more.

His company has invested heavily on upgrading its hotels in Magalluf and Escarrer said that they were pleased with the results. One of the jewels in the Meliá crown is the Palma Palacio de Congresos which opened earlier this year. Escarrer said that the centre was helping to bring even more life to Palma and pointed to the success of the Volkswagen exhibition which will in total be bringing 14,000 people to Palma. He announced that a similar large-scale convention will be taking place again shortly.

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David B / Hace 8 days

Lawrie . Perhaps I have not made myself clear in that I have been coming to stay in a hotel for 4 yrs. previous to that we had a family apartment close to the Kings palace ( marivant ) in Cala Mayor so spent many years exploring the island. The AI option for many holidays makers is designed so they can budget for the holiday and pay up front and not have to spend money away from the hotel.

+0-

zaax / Hace 8 days

The Spanish lead the world in how NOT to do business. Tourists are now bombarded with protests and graffiti telling them they are not welcome, they have limited the amount of hotel rooms that can now be sold per season to reduce numbers and now a huge tax hike..... OK we get it, we will all find somewhere else and you can enjoy your future nursing an economy similar to Macedonia.... If you are lucky.

I somehow can't see a booming market in olives and donkey meat.

+7-

Lawrie / Hace 9 days

David, you're exactly the type of tourist Mallorca can do without. Never spent a single Euro outside your all inclusive hotel. Oh my god that means you never left the hotel to explore what the beautiful island has to offer or you would have spent on buses or taxis. The local bars and restaurants won't miss you thats for sure.

+11-

Jon mlb / Hace 9 days

As ever ,the I spend a fortune brigade are out claiming to never visit again. the tax is payable in Rome ,Amsterdam ,New York , Milan etc,etc. potentially London next if the mayor gets his way. Making out that Mallorca is to be avoided because of it is rather idiotic.

+4-

David B / Hace 9 days

We have been coming to Majorca twice a year for the past 4 years. The doubling of the tourist tax has now made me rethink on whether I continue to visit these lovely Island and therefore I intend to look elsewhere. This last year I never spent a euro outside of the hotel as I was AI. Only the locals will suffer from the doubling of this stupid Tax

elsewhere.

+7-

Kenione / Hace 10 days

Dead right about the Tourist Tax. Having first visited Majorca in 1972, and up to 3 times a year since, I have no intention of returning until this Tax is repealed (again). You know that it failed before and yet have another go at fleecing visitors. Like many others, I spend a considerable amount in shops, restaurants & elsewhere when on holiday. I am so sorry for the business owners that lose out because of this greed by the Government.

+20-

Richard Pearson / Hace 10 days

Steve, I would have to disagree with you there. The hoteliers might have some influence over some mayors, indeed some mayors are also hoteliers, but I doubt if they do as far as the local government is concerned. Each side considers the other to be a necessary evil, whilst the majority of the voting public have a pretty low opinion of them at the best of times. If the hoteliers had had any say in the matter I doubt that the tourist tax would have been introduced, let alone doubled after only one year of its introduction.

+7-

Mike / Hace 10 days

For one I hope they take a massive hit maybe then they’ll stop being greedy and not bite the hand that feeds them

+13-

Steve Riches / Hace 10 days

Melia (and other hotels) are the ones who control most of the tourist market here and generally have the politicians by the short and curlies - so if they voice concerns over competition elsewhere and about the tourist tax, Barcelo & Co. need to listen for the sakes of their cushy jobs.

+24-