On Monday, LuxairTours held a press conference at the Hotel Grand Melia de Mar in Palma, Majorca, where Alberto Kunkel, Director at LuxairTours, stressed the imortance of the Baleriac Islands and, in particular, Palma, which has been one of its first destinations 30 years ago.
Majorca, the largest of the Balearic islands off the east cost of Spain in the Mediterranean, spread over 3,640 km2, with a population of 850,000 (50% of whom live in Palma), had 12 million tourists in 2017, with 18 million passengers passing through Palma airport (others going to Minorca and Ibiza), with most coming from Germany and the UK, also from Spain and Portugal. Of the population, around 180,00 work directly or indirectly in tourism.
With 300+ days of sunshine each year, Majorca offers a range of accommodation, with many 4-star and 5-star hotels at the top of the market. Real estate prices on the island have started to rise again, with investment opportunities available. Many others choose to berth their yachts and cruisers in the marinas around the island’s coast, with cruise ships also bringing in tourists (excursions, shopping and restaurants) for half-day stop-offs.
Cycling and golf - the islands offers 24 golf courses - are both popular in Majorca during the winter months, with golf popular until May and starting again in September.
One of threats to Majorca as a tourist destination is Turkey, with the political situation stabilising. And there is a growing trend of Spanish holidaymakers going to the Caribbean.
LuxairTours, the tour operator of Luxair Tours, has seen a 13% increase overall in package holidays in 2018, with an 11% increase in ticket-only sales. For Palma, 30,000 passengers have booked with LuxairTours so far for 2018, up 7% on 2018. The Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and the Mainland make up the three distinct components of LuxairTours’ Spanish offerings.
On Majorca, LuxairTours offers customers the choice of 66 hotels across the island, including the Grand Melia de Mar, one of the Leading Hotels of the World. Local hoteliers have invested significantly in hotels in Palma over the recent past, renovating and upgrading the tourist accommodation offerings. To get there, it offers ten flights/week, with a 2-hour travel time.
LuxairTours organises many excursions for customers, including: Formentor in the mountains and through pine forests; the underground Dragon Caves (grottes); boat tours around the island; Valldemossa, a quaint village; evening dinners with entertainment, etc.
Valldemossa, located in the north of the island in the mountains, could be worth the drive alone to get there, passing terraced fields and orchards, some with olive groves and others with citrus fruits. All this with stunning scenery of rock cliffs, pine forests and green canopies over the stony soil.
The town was frequented by people including the composer Frederic Chopin; the monastery there has interesting ceiling frescoes, its own apothecary with full shelves of jars and boxes which used to contain herbs and medicines, large church with small chapels, cloisters, a Chopin museum, a library with hundreds of original books, an art gallery and much more including the living quarters. Daily performances of works by Chopin are also performed in a small concert hall in the complex.
The centrepiece of Palma is its cathedral, Santa Maria (otherwise known as La Seu), a Gothic Roman construction built on the site of a former mosque from the Moors, with completion in 1601, located beside the former royal palace and overlooking the bay. Despite the exterior not being overly ornate, the cavernous structure, with its 44m high knave dwarfing the 33m of Notre Dame in Paris, its stained glass windows are both numerous and visually stunning, served by the bright light outdoors; it also has a number of artefacts on display as well as paintings and illustrated panels. Entry €7 (note: no info sheets available).
Nearby, along a well-signposted maze of paved streets, is the Banys Arabs, arab baths dating from the time of the Moors in the 10th century town of Medina Mayurq (now Palma). One of the few preserved examples of Moorish architecture in Mallorca, the hammam comprising a small vaulted chamber supported by 12 pillars and with holes in the ceiling to let the steam escape, is thought to be from a nobleman’s house. It also offers a quiet walled garden with palms, cacti and orange trees. Entry €2.50 (again, no printed info).
Elsewhere, LuxairTours has commenced a number of new destinations in 2018, including Brac in Croatia and Reykjavik in Iceland, as well as returning to Enfidha in Tunisia. Additionally, LuxairTours will shortly announce increased capacity to Boa Vista in Cap Verde and Faro in Portugal (Algarve).
This year LuxairTours is celebrating its 50th anniversary and has a number of promotional actions on offer throughout the year.