The director general of Air Berlin, Alvaro Middelmann, said yesterday that he considers the tourist tax is “unfair” because only those staying in tourist accommodation are charged the levy “be they residents or tourists, the latter which pay more.” During the presentation of the airline's winter flight programme, he said that the tax has already had “negative” repercussions for the Balearics, especially from the point of demand for flights bearing in mind that half of the airline's clients are hotel clients. He believes that the biggest mistake is that, for the most part, only tourists pay the tax “when the people who cause more pollution are Balearic residents.” “Palma is full of rubbish containers, but they're not for the tourists,” he added. He said that taxes have to balance, like those applied by the German and Spanish governments “everybody pays, but if you're going to introduce an eco-tax, you have to first look into who is causing the contamination.” “Neither it's an eco nor a tax,” he said. Air Berlin's winter tourism figures to the Balearics, which normally post a double digits increase, is expecting to see just a five per cent rise this winter. The airline blames the Balearics' image crisis, caused by the local government, for the 17 to 25 per cent fall in package holiday bookings to the region in Germany this year. However, Air Berlin is satisfied with the moderate projected increase in passengers. So far this year, the airline has carried 1.6 million people, four per cent more than in the first ten months of last year.

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