The storm over last year's tourism spending figures continues to cloud the Balearic government with the opposition Partido Popular claiming that the figures had been massaged. According to the Balearic tourism ministry spending actually increased by 1.5 per cent but there are many, including experts at the local university who compiled a similar spending report, who believed that it fell. Now, minister for tourism Celesti Alomar has ordered an investigation and Balearic leader Francesc Antich has said that if the figures were wrong then the fault would be corrected. I must admit that I was surprised when the ministry indicated that spending was up. While the tourist industry spoke of an average season in 2001 “with many difficulties” the Balearic ministry for tourism said the exact opposite. If spending had actually increased then why was the Balearic government forced to revise its economic growth figures from four per cent to two per cent? Also, there was September 11 when tourism to the Balearics fell dramatically, and not forgetting the coach strike.

The tourist industry has said that takings were down. If the allegations are true and the figures were wrong then a full investigation is needed and the person or persons responsible should be made accountable for their mistakes.

There was a lot riding on these figures including the tourist tax. I am sure that if a proper picture had been painted of last season then the local government would have thought twice about the tourist tax.

Jason Moore

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