Operators amplify the Balearic beat

Operators amplify the Balearic beat

THE three most popular Balearic islands - Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza - have seen huge increases in capacity by some UK operators for summer 2000.

The greatest rise has come from Style Holidays, which has increased seat capacity by 67% to Majorca and 19% to Minorca, most of which will be from regional airports.

"We have experienced a phenomenal year to the Balearics," said marketing manager John Hayes. "As a result, we have gone for a big increase in our capacity for next year."

Unijet has also expanded its programme to the Balearics for summer 2000. Of the 51 additional Spanish properties to its second-edition brochure, 19 are in Majorca, seven in Minorca, and two are in Ibiza.

The operator has also added more flights to the islands from Stansted, Bristol, Cardiff, Newcastle and Belfast. Also new to Unijet's programme for next summer is a seven-night cruise from Palma in Majorca, which costs from £639.

"Already we have seen strong sales for the Balearics from the first edition of the summer 2000 brochure," said Unijet general manager for shorthaul John Riley.

"As the Balearics are selling so well we are going into three new resorts in Minorca and another one in Ibiza for next year."

Thomson has added more villas in the Balearics to its 2000 programme and shifted them from the summersun brochure to its Small and Friendly brochure.

Majorca and Ibiza are currently Thomson's top two Spanish destinations and Minorca its fourth most popular, and head of Spain planning Tony Hopkins said the operator planned to further expand its programme to the three islands later this year.

First Choice will be offering 10 and 11-night holidays in the Balearics for the first time next summer, and it has added a couple of new properties on the islands.

Prices of holidays in the Balearics have gone up by an average of 3%-4%, which Sunworld warned was affecting demand.

Product director Alan MacLean said that although Majorca was Sunworld's top-selling destination, the price increases had hit bookings for summer 2000. "Majorca is coming under a bit of pressure because, although prices have only gone up 3% to 4%, this is more than to other destinations," he added.

Unijet admitted prices had gone up, but Riley said there was no evidence to suggest this was putting people off booking.

"The Balearics still offer good value for money and our sales have been strong ever since we went on sale with the first-edition broc-hure in May," he said.

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