The Majorca Hoteliers Federation used the London World Travel Market to issue a warning that there could be a loss of around a million tourists next year. At the travel fair, which ended on Wednesday, the federation argued that the loss will be because of the impact of the increased tourist tax and the rebound in demand for competitor destinations.
Gabriel Llobera, the acting president of the federation, has accused the government of not understanding the reality of its strategy - the imposition of the increased tax. "The ecotax will have a harmful effect," he said, noting that certain countries could also well devalue their currencies in order to go after tourists from key markets such as the UK and Germany. As noted previously, however, the scope for devaluation in Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey may well be limited because their currencies have already been devalued significantly or have depreciated markedly on the currency markets.
Abta is inclined to agree. Next summer will be "very different" to this summer because of heightened price sensitivity. Both Abta and the Majorca hoteliers believe that regardless of promoting the Balearics as a safe and quality destination, there will be a "transfer of tourists", many of whom have been "borrowed" by the Balearics in recent years because of geopolitical problems in the Mediterranean.
Tourism minister Biel Barceló was insisting that it is important not to consider the number of tourists but rather their profitability. Moreover, there needs to be greater distribution of tourists throughout the year because there cannot be further growth in the summer. "We've had three record seasons, and it is also the case that competing destinations are recovering."
While the minister appeared unconcerned about a potential loss of tourists, Thomas Cook was adding its voice to the criticisms of the hoteliers. The increase in the tourist tax is a "big mistake", said a source.
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