By Humphrey Carter

THE Abta convention in Palma later this year could be the platform for a showdown between Majorcan hoteliers and some British tour operators who this summer are delaying paying their contracted hotels. While the main culprits are the German and Spanish tour operators and a handful of British tour firms, according to the local hotel federations, are defaulting on their payments and in a number of extreme cases, hotels can not afford to pay their staff.

With constant reports of this year being a boom one for tourism, mainly because of the problems in North African and the Middle Eastern destinations, it is disturbing to hear that hoteliers are not enjoying the benefits. Many of them dropped their prices by ten percent for the UK market, five percent for the Germans, to help struggling tour operators get the market moving this year but they appear to have received little thanks for their cooperation.

Granted, tour operators have been hit by rising fuel prices but with package holiday sales to Majorca up by over 11 percent in the United Kingdom this year, surely there is enough money to pay the hoteliers who have been hit by the global recession just as badly, if not worse, than the tour firms, especially the market leaders like Thomas Cook which last year tried, but eventually buckled under pressure from hoteliers, to shave five percent off their contracts.

So, those at fault better bring their check books to the convention.