Things just are not getting any better for the Balearics this year and the June 20 general strike could be catastrophic. Tourism industry chiefs met for crisis talks in Palma yesterday and the President of the Majorcan Tourist Board, Miquel Vicens, said that the industry is deeply concerned about the negative impact the strike could have, not only on the Balearics' image, but also on jobs. “Yet again, we're playing with Majorca's image, which is no longer as solid as it was two years ago,” Vicens said, adding that the unions have a responsibility to make sure that minimum services are operating at all airports to prevent them from closing. On June 20, at least 50'000 passengers will be flying in and out of Palma, 45'000 being tourists who will need either coach or taxi transfers to hotels. Vicens said that closure of the airports will be “catastrophic” for the island and the tourists “who have rights but will have no other means of getting out of the Balearics.” Industry chiefs agreed yesterday that the unions have got to be made fully aware of the implications of the strike and pressurised into guaranteeing minimum services. Vicens warned that less than a year after last year's disastrous coach strike, the general strike could cause “irreparable damage.” All of the tour operators are already working on rescheduling their flights so that as many people as possible will not be travelling on the day of the strike. But while keeping the airport open is one thing, providing visitors with transport is another. Vicens said that if talks with unions prove fruitless, then the local or central government has got to step in and install some form of order over the situation. The tourist sector will hold further talks next week to discuss the unions' position and contingency plans to limit damage to an absolute minimum.

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