Yesterday, we conducted a survey in Palma Nova on the thoughts of local businesspeople ahead of the start of the summer season. It will be published later this week. Amongst other things many local businesses are concerned at the effect the foot-and-mouth outbreak in Britain will have on their businesses. Many fear that the economic crisis caused by the virus will mean fewer people coming on holiday. Their counterparts in Britain are in the same boat. But while those back in Britain are to receive government compensation, the same cannot be said for those in Palma Nova, Alcudia, Magalluf or Puerto Pollensa. It is amazing how the fate of so many Majorca-based businesses depends on Britain. In some cases they are more affected by what happens in Britain than what happens in Spain. A ludicrous situation, but that is tourism. It could be argued that businesses here should not be so dependant on outside elements, in this case British tourism. But this is easier said than done. Judging by what the tour firms are saying the outbreak will probably lead to more people holidaying abroad rather than less as many of the traditional British holiday spots will suffer. Even the British general elections will have an effect on Majorca. If Tony Blair does decide to go to the country in June there will be a drop off in bookings as a direct result, with people staying at home just to vote. Next time you see or read about the British tourism industry suffering because of foot-and-mouth, spare a thought for those here who could also be hit. Britain may be thousands of miles away but for many in Majorca, it is their livelihood.

Jason Moore

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