Dear Sir,

The problems of tourism are deeper and older than glib boom predictions imply. We all hope that the Director of the Spanish Board in London Ignacio Vasello's estimate of 3.2 million Brits visiting us this year comes true (Daily B Friday). Last year with only 2.8 million was the worst for 14 years – 1996. So will there be this 14% improvement? It is half his 30% prediction a couple of months earlier (Daily B 12 February). If we do get 3.2 million we will not be back at pre recession levels as he claims but much further back to 1998. British tourism to the Baleares peaked ten years ago - 2001. In some areas such as my own Playa de Palma the peak was even earlier – 1989 so the monster renovation project (now shelved) was already some two decades late.

This decline is understandable. We should never have expected perpetual growth. People develop and move on. The average holiday makers of the 70's were abroad for the first time in their lives and if honest a little on edge. Police were armed and all food reputably doused in garlic. They soon discovered Spain and the Spanish to be charming, eating in restaurants not expensive nor exclusive to snobs. They became more adventuristic and explored other countries.

In reality we are doing well to attract a regular 3 million Brits year in year out.
Let's look after them even if they fly Easy Jet or Ryanair. Instead of the tourist officials repeatedly inflating expectations they should concentrate their efforts more on our actual clients not dreaming of green, cultural, winter, big spenders. We attract holiday makers in the summer not tourists year round.

Mike Lillico
Playa de Palma