A political tit-for-tat has broken out over the tourism figures for last year. Balearic leader Francesc Antich, quizzed over the latest scandal, said yesterday “the figures are good, according to what the Tourism Minister has told me, however they will be checked.” Antich added that if they are incorrect then the figures will be rectified. Antich and Tourism Minister Alomar discussed the potentially damaging issue briefly yesterday morning, the president said the figures published by the Minister “are valid, but if it can be proved otherwise, then we'll correct them and that's that.” Alomar is standing by his figures that show a 1.4 per cent increase in tourist spending last year, but the opposition Partido Popular has accused him of massaging the figures in order to conceal the true condition of the tourist industry. The problem appears to be in that the new method used this year for calculating the figures makes it impossible for figures for 2001 to be compared with previous years. PP spokesperson Joan Flaquer accused Alomar of “trying to create a false image” of the Balearic tourist sector. Flaquer wants Alomar to explain to parliament why he is “trying to cheat the public,” and also explain the reasons behind the change in the method used for calculating and analysing tourism spending figures.

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