THE hotel sector is braced for a considerable drop in the number of US and Canadian guests in response to war in Iraq. The secretary general of Zontur, the association of Spanish resort hotels, Ramón Estalella, says that while US and Canadian bookings for Spain this year are similar to last year “if there is war in Iraq but is over relatively quickly, Spain will not suffer too much, but if the conflict drags on, the situation will start to get complicated,” he said. For example, while the Balearics, especially Palma, is a popular destination for cruise clients from the US and Canada, the only clear indication as to how the US market will react to war is that Andalucia, where as much as 20 per cent of the market is from the US, 60 per cent of North American and Canadian bookings have been cancelled because of fears that there may be a war. The tourist industry is starting to concern itself with what will happen if and when the war has started. Apart from uncertainty in the holiday market on the other side of the Atlantic, in Europe, summer holiday sales are still sluggish. Estalella says that sales are still poor in Germany, and that the association is very worried about the repercussions of war in Iraq.

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