Tourism bluesWhat a failed policy! Yes, I am talking about the tourist tax which the Balearic government looks set to scrap. But what I find even more disturbing is that some sections of the local government are not willing to see that our principal industry is hovering close to a recession. Just hours before Balearic leader Francesc Antich made his landmark statement on the tax, the minister for tourism was arguing that there was no need to be concerned because tourist spending actually rose last season by seven per cent. An independent survey compiled by economists at the local university suggested that spending fell by two per cent. If there is no reason to be alarmed why is the local government strongly hinting that they will scrap the tourist tax? In my view we are faced with two crisis situations at the moment. On the one hand there is the world recession which was on the horizon before the September 11 attacks and on the other hand there are the attacks themselves, which have naturally placed fear in the hearts of most travellers. Now, the only way to face up to these problems is for a united front, local government working with the industry. There is no place for stupid arguments and ridiculous statements from the ministry for tourism. Ask anyone employed in the resorts and they will tell you that there has been a wave of cancellations and holidaymakers are worried. But the ministry for tourism maintains that there is no reason to worry. I don't want to talk up a recession but the facts are clearly visible to all to see. Get real, the days of claim and counter-claim are long gone. The writing is on the wall, just have the courage to read it, Sr Alomar.
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