A final decision is to be made on the delaying of the tourist tax this week, according to Balearic government leader Francesc Antich that is. “This week we've got to make a definitive decision” Antich proclaimed yesterday, although the odds on a deal being reached with the tour operators are not good. Leading German tour operator TUI said yesterday that it is not interested in any deals with the local government and has no intention of including the tourist tax in its brochures. TUI intends to negotiate with the hoteliers, as usual, about the tax but will also be telling hoteliers that they do not expect hotel prices to be increased by more than the rate of inflation and that they will have to work out the tourist tax on their own. TUI quite simply does not want to know anything about the controversial levy and none of the German tour operators are prepared to start signing deals with the local government. In Britain the stance remains unchanged, sources for Airtours said “IFTO and ABTA speak for us on the tax, nothing has changed.” Both the Association of British Travel Agents and the International Federation of Tour Operators want the tax delayed until November, at least. Thomas Cook has no plans to include the tax in their brochures, although the tour operator is open to suggestions. “For the moment,” Antich said “May 1 is the day from which the tax will be applied,” adding that it all depends on how co-operative the tour operators and hoteliers are. The Mayor of Calvia, Margarita Nájera, yesterday urged hoteliers not to buckle under pressure from tour operators and start reducing prices because of the 10 to 20 per cent fall in bookings. Nájera said that while the outlook is bleak at the moment, the “final balance will be positive.” Nájera said that the slump in bookings to the Balearics has nothing to do with the tourist tax but, in the case of Germany, is because of economic instability and recession. However no reason was given for the drop off in the British market. With UK airports ready for a hectic Easter, the British are travelling. The Mayor of Calvia (which is Europe's busiest summer resort), is convinced that package holiday sales will eventually pick up - but stressed that hoteliers must not drop their prices.

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