The Chairman of leading British tour operator David Crossland yesterday in Palma expressed his outright opposition to the tourist tax - a Balearic government project which is currently being rushed through parliament. Crossland, who warned the local government of the dangers in an interview with the Bulletin last summer, said “any additional taxes mean an increase in prices, something our clients reject as they are the ones who ultimately pay the costs.” Crossland was in Palma yesterday for talks with hoteliers from the Balearics and other key Spanish resorts. Crossland's stance on the tourist tax mirrors the opinion of the hotel sector, at local and national levels, and the Airtours chairman warned hoteliers that all of Europe's leading tour operators are against the introduction of the tax. But, the Balearic tourist sector is already suffering without the added negative consequences of the tourist tax. Crossland said yesterday that summer package holiday bookings for the Balearics in the United Kingdom will show a five to ten percent drop this year. Crossland reminded the Balearic tourism authorities that the region is facing serious competition from Eastern Mediterranean resorts and that is where the British, turning their backs on the Balearics, are heading this summer. Coinciding with Crossland's statement, Turkey's Minister for Tourism, Erkan Numcu, announced that the country's tourist industry enjoyed a record year last year attracting ten million tourists, 40 percent more than in 1999. The German market accounted for the largest number of tourists, by contrast it was the German market which slumped, and will continue to do so, in Majorca.

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