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July 2011, and the winner is... SPAIN

Spain is a clear winner from the political instability in North Africa. While Tunisia, Egypt, and Morocco spent 2011 settling old debts, vacationers decided to bet on a sure win.

Vacationers who were used to bargain holidays in the Maghreb had to turn their attention elsewhere, and neighbouring Spain’s two-star supply reaped in the benefits. This is clearly illustrated in MKG Hospitality’s market studies with a 5.2% rise in OR (July 2001 Year-to-date) in the two-star category. Furthermore, this same downscale category was the only one to see its ADR decrease, indicating a rise in supply and competition amongst hoteliers in this category; as well as a rise in quantity of guests staying in these hotels.However, Mr. Rasch remains cautious. “This turnout is typical of Mallorca, nonetheless.” The General Director adds, “Taking into consideration the weather conditions and the exceptional beauty of Mallorca, we can even consider this turnout to be normal.”French tourists who were used to going to their national Riviera were sorely disappointed by unfavorable (and unlucky) weather conditions in the “hexagon” and therefore created a mass exodus to nearby Spain. The four-star category was extremely receptive to upscale guests in search of a good climate, whether it be political or weather. They strategically hiked up their ADR by a whopping 15%, and yet managed to remain only two points under the national average for occupancy rate (68.9% vs. 70.6%).Trendy Barcelona, with help from the nearby suburb of Sitges, was the clear winner amongst all of Spain’s regions with an occupancy rate of 81%. However, Bilbao saw the biggest growth rate with 6.2% (to 76.7%), probably from the BBK music festival, the TA World Conference, Book fair, two film festivals, and numerous religious events. Neighbouring Zaragoza followed close behind with a 5.8 increase in OR.The Spanish Royals’ favourite Palma de Mallorca reported an impressive 11.4% increase in their ADR to 170 Euros, a perfect illustration of what happens when every international circumstance is reunited (trendy destination, a four-star market eager to cash in, rain in France, and political turmoil in North Africa). Sven Rasch, General Manager of Puro Hotel in Mallorca agrees that, “While the events in the Middle East were most unfortunate, they did indeed lead to a major influx of visitors to our region.”

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