Coach fares will have to go up by ten per cent a year over the next three years, to cover the wage increases agreed to end the crippling coach strike at the end of June, which badly damaged Majorca's image abroad. This was the gloomy verdict voiced yesterday by Jaume Batle, president of the coach owners' association. In an interview in the magazine Empresa Balear, published by the Balearic business association CAEB, Batle said that the drop in the number of visitors to the island could already be felt, and predicted a ten per cent drop compared to last summer. He said that the three day coach strike, which left tourists stranded at the airport, had cost the sector 500 million pesetas. Batle said that if the ten per cent increase were not applied, then the sector would suffer. The increase will allow the companies to “balance” the cost of the wage agreement and absorb last year's increase in petrol prices. The consequences of the strike would be felt most by the smaller companies, some of which may go to the wall, Batle said. Batle said that the predicted drop of ten per cent could be attributed to several causes, including the water and energy problems and the tourist tax as well as the strike.

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