I have rather mixed views over all-inclusive holidays. The reason why this sort of package holiday in which everything is included was introduced, I believe, was because holidaymakers were finding the island far too expensive and there was a danger they could go to other cheaper holiday destinations. I don't think the Balearic government has taken the issue seriously from the start. Only now has the Balearic minister for tourism, Joan Flaquer, said outright that this sort of package can't be banned, but it should be closely monitored. If you have a large hotel offering all-inclusive holidays naturally the bars and restaurants nearby are going to suffer. But what I find even more alarming is that the TUI Group, Europe's biggest tour firm, which brings almost five million holidaymakers to the island every year, is now planning to take all-inclusive even further. They have announced that this all-paid-for package will also include drinks in certain bars outside the hotel. In other words they are making sure that their clients do not stray elsewhere. The bar and restaurant industry in the Balearic employs thousands of people and their livelihood will be at stake if hotels continue to go down the all-inclusive path. Surely, bars and restaurants would be working closely with hotels so at least they continue to get their fair share. All-inclusive holidays in the winter is obviously a good idea because the majority of bars and restaurants have closed for the low-season. But in the summer? Well, I think the local authorities need to have a long hard think and talk to all those involved. If tourists are just staying in their hotels and only going to the bar where they can get free-prepaid drinks then the island will have serious problems.
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