London was quietly snubbed last week by the Balearic hoteliers federation, the Spanish government and the Balearic government. Now, last week London hosted the World Travel Market, which is the focal point of the British tourist industry. Everybody who is anybody in the industry was there...well apart from a few. Missing was the President of the Majorcan Hoteliers Federation, Pedro Cañellas, the leader of the Balearic government Francesc Antich and the Spanish Minister for the Economy Rodrigo Rato. All three usually attend the fair but this year other pressing matters meant they were needed elsewhere. Other pressing matters...what can be more pressing than the British tourist market which must contribute a sizeable part of the one billion pesetas in revenue which the Balearics receives from tourism. I would have thought that it would have been vital to have a strong Spanish presence in London especially as the industry is still reeling from September 11. Part of government policy is to attend as many fairs as possible with the World Travel Market and the ITB in Berlin being key. So why did Antich, Cañellas and Rato stay away? There is no simple answer but I would expect that the British tourist industry was both surprised and rather shocked. I am afraid the news from London was not very upbeat but the three should have been there to hear the bad news first hand from the tour firms and the industry as a whole. I am sure that the British tour firms would have welcomed a strong Balearic delegation especially as the tourist tax is set to be scrapped. Now is the time to show solidarity and work for the future. By staying away the three sent rather a cloudy message which will not have been well received.

Jason Moore

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