Just three days ago I wrote in this space that there was a danger that Balearic leader Francesc Antich would alienate many of his followers by not introducing the tourist tax. I sincerely thought that the Balearic government would not go ahead with the controversial tax and would risk the public backlash for the sake of the tourist industry and the well-being of the Balearic economy. Sadly, I was mistaken and in just under six weeks time tourists will see the cost of their holiday rise. Not by much, but it is a tax afterall. Holiday sales for summer 2002 in Britain and Germany are presently down by more than 30 percent. The tourist industry is in recession. All the major travel companies are planning substantial reductions in their programmes and have also announced job cuts. The list goes on. Meanwhile, holiday sales to Turkey are presently 20 percent up because the Turkish have sensibly announced a series of cash incentives to try and boost their industry. In the Balearics our government has done the reverse. Instead of helping the industry weather the hard times they have just made their task much more difficult.

Martin Brackenbury, Chairman of the International Federation of Tour Operators had warned that any increase in holiday prices would have dire consequences. His warning has fallen on deaf ears. I hope that the British and the Germans love Majorca as much as they appear to and are willing to pay a few pesetas more for their holiday because otherwise we will be facing a very difficult summer season.

Jason Moore

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