Balearic President Francesc Antich has officially apologised to tens of thousands of German tourists for the disruptions caused to their holidays by the coach strike. The British however are still waiting. In an interview given to the German newspaper Koelner Stadt Anzeiger, which was published yesterday, Antich said “we are deeply sorry for the great hardships which travellers had to endure.” Antich also took the opportunity to thank passengers for their patience during the three-day strike. But in Germany, the strike was one thing, the tourist tax is another. Antich took full advantage of the interview to defend the tourist tax, which is hugely unpopular in Germany. Antich explained that the daily tax will be equivalent to “the half of what is costs to have a beer in Germany.” “I don't think any tourist will change destination because of the tax,” Antich added. On Sunday Antich laid the blame for the coach strike at the feet of central government. “Central administration was incapable of guaranteeing minimum service,” he said. He claimed that the local government did all it could to bring the two parties together for talks adding that the Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar “cannot accuse the local government of being unable to resolve the dispute.” The battle lines are drawn for a showdown between Palma and Madrid over the tourist tax. Central government intends to legally challenge the tax, but Antich is confident that Madrid is bluffing.

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