Fresh in the wake of Friday's warning from the head of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations, José Mariá Cuevas, that the tourist tax would reduce the Balearics' level of competitiveness in the world tourist market, the Spanish Association of Tourist Hotels (ZONTUR) and the airport authority AENA, yesterday said that this Easter is going to be relatively quiet. The hotel sector suffered over the Millennium, by misjudging the market and out-pricing themselves when demand was nowhere near as high as forecast in reality, and bookings for Easter are down by as much as 75 per cent in some cases.

ZONTUR says it will be impossible to beat records set last Easter. The president of the organisation, Pedro Juan Devesa, explained yesterday that Spain and the Balearics benefited from a series of natural disaters in traditionally popular resorts last year, such as the earthquake in Turkey and a number of catastrophes in South America, but this year all the affected resorts are returning to normal and tourists are returning, which is one of the key reasons why bookings are down in Spain and the Balearics. Even without the tourist tax, when the global market is in a healthy condition, there is still stiff competition.

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