You have got to admire, Balearic leader Francesc Antich. He is a man sticking to his guns over the tourist tax but it could all end in tears. He placed special emphasis on the tax during his speech yesterday and underlined the fact that his government would be going ahead with the charge which will be paid by most holidaymakers. But Antich is playing with fire. He has been warned in no uncertain terms by hoteliers and tour operators that the tax could spell disaster for the tourist industry.

Whatever the local government spin-doctors say, the bottom-line is that this year the Balearics has had a rather inferior holiday season. Why? Because the Germans are going elsewhere because they are finding the Balearics rather expensive. And when it became clear that the Germans were not coming in the numbers which had been forecast at the start of the season the panic bells began to sound at the local ministry for tourism.

It is more than likely that tourism will fall as a result of the tax. Tour firms will divert people to other cheaper, competing resorts. Antich must be prepared for this. If there are fewer tourists it will have a direct impact on the local economy. But what you can't have Sr. Antich is the best of both worlds. If you want a tourist industry like the Balearics has at the moment, scrap the tax. If you want an uncertain future, introduce it. Thankfully the decision is yours and you appear to have made up your mind.

Jason Moore

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