Tourism figures dropped again last month according to the latest figures released by the Balearic Ministry for Tourism and tourism ministers on the mainland, having studied the proposed tourist tax, forecast a further fall on the back of the levy. The Balearics last month received a little under 1.700.000 tourists, 2.3 per cent less than in July last year, according to Ministry data. The continual monthly fall in holidaymakers means that so far this year, tourism is down by 0.5 per cent and it is still the British market which is holding numbers up. During the first seven months of this year, the number of British visitors to the Balearics rose by nearly eight per cent, the number of Spanish by 2.9 per cent with the culmination of the two market increases more than compensating for the 7.2 per cent drop in the German market. Majorca and Minorca were the biggest winners of the British boom last month, while 7.8 per cent of Spanish tourists opted for Ibiza and Formentera. But many tourism ministers on the mainland doubt that the situation in the Balearics is going to improve much in the immediate future. Andalucia's Tourism Minister, Rafael Rodriguez de Leon, whose department has studied the Balearic tax with the idea of possibly adopting a similar levy, said yesterday that their studies have concluded that the tax will cost the Balearics between four to five per cent of its tourist industry - on top of the current market decline. Addressing a conference on tourism, he warned that, should the Balearic government go ahead with the tax, despite the move by central government to legally challenge the tax in the Madrid courts, the net result will be a five per cent loss in tourism.

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