Europe's largest tour operator, TUI, which yesterday unveiled its new TUI-ESPAÑA operation as part of the World of TUI, has urged the Balearics government to think again about launching the tourist tax on May 1. Shaun Powell, head of TUI's Spanish operations, said in Palma yesterday, that there are destinations in Spain already much cheaper than the Balearics, without the cost of the tourist tax added on. Powell said that TUI's brochures do not include any information about the controversial levy and explained that TUI's parent company Preussag, which bought Thomson Holidays two years ago, will follow its usual strategy of informing package holiday clients and assessing the market's reaction to the tax. Powell said that informing their clients will merely be a formality as most European markets are well aware of the tax, especially in the UK and Germany. He also added that he believes the tax will have its most negative impact on the UK market with regards to bookings for Majorca in particular. Powell said that tour operators and hoteliers are all too well aware of just how price sensitive the holiday market is and that at the moment there are more competitive destinations such as the Canaries and Tunisia. As far as TUI is concerned, prices in the Balearics have risen enough over the past few years and the price increases will become even more apparent once the tourist tax is added on. “What is very important to the holiday sector is the global price of package holidays and if you apply a tourist tax, this raises the price too much and will damage the islands' tourist industry,” Powell said.

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