Despite the current FCO travel advice to Spain and the imposed quarantine restrictions on return to the UK, Pedro Homar, manager of the Palma Tourist Board, is confident there will be a strong upward surge of demand to Palma once travel advice is changed. He attributes this to the rising trend for autumn/ winter visits from the UK to the Balearic capital over the last few years.
Pedro Homar says:
“From October 2019 to February 2020, the city of Palma (and the nearby resort of Playa de Palma) welcomed a 14.2% increase in British visitors versus the same period the previous winter showing an upward trend for out-of-season breaks to the Balearic Island capital.
In October 2019, UK arrivals were up 13.6% year on year, whilst November 2019 saw UK arrivals jump by 44% compared to November 2018. December was up 5% year-on-year.
The number of room nights booked by UK visitors between October 2019 and February 2020 increased by 7.4% compared to the previous winter. The increase in room nights is significantly smaller than the growth in UK visitors for the same period, indicating shorter stays or an increase in those staying with family or friends during the winter season.
Reducing the city’s reliability on summer season
Over the last few years, we have focused our efforts on decreasing our city’s reliability on the summer season from a tourism point of view and showcasing the beauty of the city outside of the main summer months. Despite the current UK travel advice impacting 2020 bookings, we must remain optimistic ahead of the autumn and winter months and we feel confident that UK tourism will bounce back given the historical travel data. Booking data from ForwardKeys also shows that there is still high demand amongst British holidaymakers to travel to the Balearic Islands in 2020 with the destination predicted to be the most resilient in Spain for bookings this calendar year.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we decided to navigate this situation in an optimistic way. Of course, the decision of the UK government is having a very big impact on our tourism sector. In 2020, we have lost a huge part of our tourism revenue and this will have long-term repercussions for many of those in Palma and Mallorca that contribute to the tourism supply chain.
Nevertheless, we have to look forward as best as possible and as a city, we have a strong tourism proposition during the autumn and winter months and Palma is a great base for those looking to explore Mallorca. Autumn is a particularly good time to visit our city with no crowds and pleasant temperatures for long leisurely strolls. It’s ideal for those looking for a short-haul break with great weather, beautiful architecture, Michelin-star-quality cuisine and plenty of beautiful urban hotels. We must remain optimistic and we are holding on to hope for the autumn/ winter season.”