THE other day I received a telephone call from a bar owner in one of the resorts to complain about our tourism coverage. Basically, he said, that why was it that despite the record number of tourists who were allegedly coming to the Balearics, most of the resorts were empty. It is a good point. Now, the official figures we publish come from the tourism ministry in Madrid and other official bodies but even I have wondered about their accuracy. Now, most of the official tourism figures are based on the airport figures, the number of tourists who depart and arrive. However, these figures can be misleading. They take into account all passengers who are in transit and others who are joining cruise ships in Palma. I think you can safely say that these people account for between 10 and 20 percent of the total number of people using the airport. Now, you also have to take into account these days that a sizeable number of tourists do not leave their hotels, as they are on all inclusive packages. One thing for sure is that the figures might point to a record season but the tourist trade thinks differently. Most people involved in tourism who I have spoken to, say that their takings are slightly up on last year but if you compare them to 2008, they are at least 20 percent down. So the figures may be accurate but they do not tell the true story. Tourists are spending far less and our principal industry is still very much in recession and will take a long time to recover.
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