The backlash over the tourist tax is starting to gain momentum and yesterday the chairman of Palma-based airline Spanair urged the Balearic government to consider suspending the tax. Gonzalo Pascual also suggested that the government should reconsider its tourism policies, “they would both seem the most intelligent things to do in view of the crisis gripping the sector,” he said. Pascual admitted that, while the airline industry has been against the tourist tax from the start, the current tourism crisis has not been caused by the tax “but it has not helped a bad situation.” He added that a decision by the local government to suspend the tax would be welcomed by the Balearics' key feeder markets, some of which in particular Germany, are suffering economically “and the tourist tax is not helping.” Pascual denied that his intervention will make the local government more vulnerable “I don't want to interfere, far from it, but I do believe, at this time of crisis, that it would be intelligent to suspend the tax, which would also be seen as a positive gesture by the industry.” Leaders of the Balearic left wing United Left party denied yesterday that the tourist industry is in crisis. United Left Balearic senator, Manuel Cámara, claimed that the Partido Popular government in Madrid is deliberately trying to “destabilise” the Balearics and that former Balearic leader Jaume Matas, the Environment Minister, is at the core of the plot.

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