Mallorca country hotels fight on many fronts, but a country hotel (Agroturismo) on Mallorca is a luxury treat to many people.
Holiday cottages - Example Manacor. 25 years ago there was in the area just two country hotels, today there are more than 20 with approximately 300 beds. Even more impressive, however, is the illegal supply: In a total of 1,000 beds, the association estimates for country hotels in Manacor (Ruralcor) the capacity of that one Agroturismos can offer the rural idyll at lower prices because they pay no taxes or permits.
This is just one of several problems which country hotels across the island and cause plague that some operators want to go out of business because they are overwhelmed by the costs, while reducing revenue. "Especially those who have started to purchase a property or mortgage for an expensive restoration plug, now up to his neck in problems," says Ventura Rubí, Chairman of the Associació Balear Agroturisme, which represents around 120 companies.
And the prospects for the immediate future is bleak: "The overnight numbers are so far almost 10 percent below those of 2009," says Rubí, "and the bookings for the coming months do not look too good."
High season - that's for shore leave, the months of May, June and September when the weather is good and the heat bearable. At the other end of the scale are the winter months, have there, the occupancy levels in recent years continued to deteriorate. It is not so long ago that the Agroturismos were celebrated as the spearhead of the season decoupling, that is, as an industry, the tourists outside the summer season on the island beckons. But then came the crisis of the travel market, a weather crisis: After three rainy winter seasons in a row, many operators and the water up to his neck.
It is the harsh awakening of a tourism sector which, known in the past two decades, only a trend steeply upward. The now 74-year-old agricultural engineer Ventura Rubí began in 1986 to unite the first Agroturismos to a union and served a total of 15 years as its president.
On the island of rural tourism was recognized quickly as a chance to become unprofitable farms do not only profitable but also to preserve historic architecture. Positioned so that the Rural Tourism in Mallorca from the start in the top league.
Of course, in terms of costs and prices. In contrast to other Spanish regions Agroturismo often means in the Balearic Islands luxury. Many farms are too swanky hotels have been rebuilt with every comfort. This segment is actually immune to minor crises, but given the current economic situation has spilled over the wailing and moaning long been the exclusive lines - especially as the range in the quality of tourism has grown enormously. are high-quality accommodation in Mallorca, it is now a lot.
to lower prices - all say the interviewer - do only limited meaning. For in the total price for the land vacation in Majorca and flights and rental cars are to be included. "There's so much you can tweak the room tariff, which is never really cheap," is justified Rubí.
Especially since the days when you could fly for 50 € from Germany to Palma, passed, and the rental market is on the move. The fleets have become smaller, and increased prices. Direct victims are the Agroturismos, for this kind of holiday - they are also labeled as nature is - at least in Mallorca without their own vehicles hard to imagine.
The comparison with a country inn on the mainland illustrates the competitive disadvantage of the Majorcan houses. The German Anna Ern operates between Valencia and Teruel the Casa Rural Sharíqua. The motto is switched off, in the four rooms have no television or air conditioning, reading the score, hiking, relax.
The double room including breakfast costs about 70 € (on Majorca is hardly something for under 100 euro). But most important: Customers come by train - the station is located one kilometer - or by private car. Often there are inhabitants of the nearby Valencia, who want to relax from city life.
From such a nearby catchment, the Mallorcan only dream of. And with the exploding throughout Spain offering domestic guests to persuade just hard to get to the island, only to listen to far from the coast to the tinkling of sheep bells.
There are also home-made problems, such as bureaucratic hurdles that Rubí as "part surreal" means: "What about a need Agroturismo twelve rooms with a separate room to store baggage?"
In Ruralcor in Manacor, it is estimated that the paperwork to issue a final license for the last eight years and can cost up to 30,000 €. "Since many throw in the towel at the very beginning and open without a license," said Lluís Julià of Ruralcor. "The danger of getting caught, is already close to zero. Especially if you offer its rooms on sites abroad."
Even with the Agroturismo Association, some members are dissatisfied. But there are bright spots. Julià example, has discovered a family source of income, and sometimes even Mallorcan stand in as guests for the international customers.
If you Ruralcor recorded a 30 percent increase in engagement and wedding celebrations, for which the house is occupied. The biggest advantage: "There are also people to Mallorca, which would never come here because they have a false image of the island. And often we win them as new customers. "
In this town you is now to large international companies, want to hold the meetings in a special atmosphere, but also to target groups such as gays and lesbians. "Mallorca offer and especially the rural hotels these couples rest and seclusion," says Marga Galmés, president of Ruralcor.
As family farms are Agroturismos vulnerable because private penetrated changes - for example, a divorce - on the company. On the other hand a very personal relationship with the customers is possible. This will see the agrotourism their competitive advantage.
What do these relationships can blossom, Lluís Julià illustrated with the example of a Viennese couple who had been enraptured by an expansion in Agroturismo located so that it had accelerated the completion of a cash deposit.
"We have agreed on a kind of time-sharing," says Julià. "With the money earned in both the right to one month vacation in the next ten years." To survive the current crisis on a broad front, it will probably need more of such original ideas and ecstatic customers.
With the crisis, the tensions grow within the Balearic Federation of Agroturismos. Lluís Julià of the hoteliers in Manacor about an excessively weak representation in the industry complained, given the growing problems. The German Will Kauffmann, operator of the Son Agroturismos Bauló ("cultural property"), is far harsher words: "I would like to know what I actually pay my monthly fee."
Still holds the chairman Rubí (on 14 June will be a new president is chosen) including the so-called "Nadal-decree" against him with the pressure from the Association at last the "absurd evaluation mechanisms" for the required agricultural activity were abolished.
But this does not change the fact that the booking office of the association and the initiatives received poor grades in marketing. "Even in practical matters will be widely supported, criticized Kauffmann." As a new regulation came out, according to which each Agroturismo would have to annually pass a kind of TÜV, I asked for details. In response they sent me comment on the 80-page legal document. Member advice looks different. "
Several Agroturismos have resigned from the association. The "dissidents face" is also of practical problems, among them the all-too discreet location of the Office. And so for the upcoming meeting expected once more heated debates.
Source: Mallorca Zeitung