The Balearic tourist industry should have a good idea of how this summer season with the British market will pan out by the end of this month/early March. The British public are being urged to book their summer holidays now because there are 1.5 million less package holidays on the market this year and therefore be no advantage in booking late, only possible disappointment in not being able to travel to preferred destination. The Association of British Travel Agents is urging holidaymakers who know when and where they want to go to book now. ABTA said yesterday that holiday figures over Christmas matched 2001 and that the ski industry is enjoying a slight increase. At the end of last month, travel agents reported a surge in interest from customers and the British travel industry looks set to recover this year. “The feedback from our members is that bookings are coming in faster than expected. “Demand fell after September 11, but it looks as if people just delayed making a decision about booking a holiday,” ABTA's head of corporate affairs Keith Betton said. Last year Britons took over 20 million package holidays because of low prices, favourable exchange rates and a strong economy. ABTA said yesterday that providing low interest rates are maintained this year and hostilities are contained, the negative impact of the terrorist attacks on the United States on the holiday industry should be minimal. Although, with regards to the Balearics, ABTA warned that the issue over the tourist tax has to be resolved before the tax hits the headlines. Summer 2002 bookings were very slow towards the end of last year, but tour operators are currently offering super deals and discounts to early bookers. “The British public always go on holiday and it seems that they still intend to do so this year,” Betton said. ABTA also said that the British have got over their fear of flying and further terrorist attacks with a wide range of destinations doing very well. But the Balearics is facing tough competition this year in its bid to attract the affluent British tourist. The Caribbean is faring well, so too is Florida and the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey is bracing itself for a record year.

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