Local travel agents have noted a sudden surge in United States-bound travellers asking for their flights to either be brought forward or put back, so their trips do not coincide with September 11 - next Wednesday. Sources for the association of Balearic travel agents revealed yesterday that local travellers are trying to change their flight dates so they are not travelling to or between any US cities on September 11. However, 11-S does not appear to have put people off travelling to the States “or anywhere else,” the source said. Ironically, the most popular destination for the Balearics last month was Egypt, which is only just recovering after being hit by a wave of domestic terrorist incidents. The association of Balearic travel agents, represents 230 local companies, and it appears that this month, quite a few potential clients are “taking a break” from travelling. Bookings for September are currently 15 to 20 per cent down on September last year “despite the fact that prices are the same.” But, according to the association source “the market is flooded with special offers, which is quite normal considering the uncertainty in the market.” Holiday industry experts predicted yesterday that tourism figures will not recover until next year, providing that there is not an attack on Iraq. Apart from sun and sea holidays, the conference market has also been hit. In Spain, immediately after September 11, the conference market saw business drop by 40 per cent and because it is a sector very dependent on United States business, there will be no recovery until next year. The Spanish conference market has picked up slightly over the past year, but business is still 35 per cent down. However, there has been a recent increase in interest from the United States with a number of large companies looking to hold conferences in Spain next year and in 2004. But the Spanish Incentive and Meeting Association, which represents a number of companies which specialise in overseas conferences, said that everything depends on what the US does about Iraq.

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