The Balearic tourist industry, which accounts for 80 per cent of the region's economy, is paying a high price for the slump in tourism - the decline in tourism cost the hotel sector around £240 million during the first half of this year. Secretary general of the Zontur, the association of Spanish resort hotels, Ramón Estalella, said yesterday that the Balearic tourist industry has seen a 370 million euro fall in revenue this year and chided Balearic Tourism Minister Celesti Alomar for his comment last week, that the tourism crisis has been caused by central government policy. Alomar said that Madrid has failed to do enough to promote the Balearics, but Estalella said “the reason for the fall in tourism and revenue is not because of a lack of promotion, but because of Balearic government policy.” Zontur's latest figures indicate a nine per cent fall in tourism during the first six months of the year, but Estalella added that people are coming for shorter holidays and spending less money. The Balearics also accounted for 60 per cent of the slump in German tourists coming to Spain which was down by 17 per cent at the end of June. The tourism slump has also hit the job market. Last month the number of people working in the hostelry sector rose by 4.5 per cent, in the Balearics, it fell by 1.7 per cent. “Between January and the end of June, the Balearics was 5.5 million bed nights short of last year's figures and tourist spending fell by 2.7 per cent,” Estalella said. The Zontur boss pointed out that one of the Balearic government's election platforms was to reduce tourism by 25 per cent, to have less tourists, but of a better quality, because tourism is damaging the islands - hence the tourist tax. But, Estalella said that the government's politics “worried tour operators who could not understand that after so much effort over so many years to help boost the tourist industry and economy in the Balearics, the local government adopted policies which caused serious problems and caused the press in Germany and UK to reports that the islands no longer wanted tourists.” “It's not just the tourist tax, but the whole tourism debate which the government has sparked,” he said.

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