I was rather shocked the other day when I overheard a conversation between two Majorcans who were saying that as a result of the conflict in Iraq tourism to the island would nose-dive and it was all the fault of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar. The reason why I was shocked was not because what they were saying was outrageous, infact many people actually believe that tourism to Majorca will benefit because resorts in the Eastern Mediterranean will be no-go areas) but because they had swallowed line, hook and sinker everything which the Balearic government has said. We are not to blame for the drop in visitor numbers is the official government line. Last year, when war with Iraq was not even being mentioned, tourism to the island dropped by between 15 and 20 percent. In otherwords there were one million fewer German visitors. The Balearic government is not blameless for this fall. The introduction of the tourist tax, their body language over the whole issue of tourism, made a sizeable number of German tourists believe that they were no longer welcome here. Germany, as we know is in recession, but I am sure that most families went on holiday but some elected to go elsewhere. Tourism is a very volatile issue. What the Balearic government should be trying to do is to win back the hearts and minds of some tourists who feel that they are no longer welcome. This state of affairs has nothing to do with Iraq, the central administration in Madrid, Prime Minister Aznar or Saddam Hussein it is commonly known as complacency and taking tourists for granted. Balearic leader Antich should forget the war and concentrate on matters at home.
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