The Vice-President of the Balearic Government, Pere Sampol, has slammed local hoteliers for complaining about the tourist tax and then increasing their prices by 7.6 percent. “If the hoteliers had thought that it was going to be such a bad holiday season as they have been forecasting then why in March did they increase their prices?” said Sampol. He went on to say that hoteliers had even contracted more staff. Twenty-five thousand people were employed by the hotel trade this time last year compared to 27'000 at the moment. Sampol said that hoteliers were trying to launch a smear campain against the five-party left wing/nationalist coalition local government. He also hit out against the tour operators claiming that every year they cried wolf to try and make hoteliers drop their prices. Sampol maintains that the Balearics are heading for a good summer season and there is no cause for alarm. His outburst comes at a time when hoteliers are considering taking legal action against the tourist tax which is due to be introduced in the Balearics next summer. The cost is about 166 pesetas per person per day. But while Sampol, has been giving an upbeat message his counterpart, local minister for tourism, Celesti Alomar, has been in Germany trying to win support for the controversial levy. The Germans, rather unexpectedly, have been some of the most outspoken critics of the tax. A German tabloid even called for tourists to boycott Majorca and write to the King and complain. Alomar has been holding talks with key members of the German tourist industry. His visit comes at a time when holiday sales to Majorca are down by at least 15 percent in Germany to Majorca. Alomar, in a press conference called for this morning, is expected to underline the success of his visit.

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