BALEARIC leader Francesc Antich set-out-his-stall in the Balearic parliament this week promising cheap housing for young couples and also underlining the need to protect the environment. But what concerns me is that he failed to give an insight into what his government will be doing to ensure that the tourist industry remains competitive. Okay, perhaps this is the job of the private sector but I am concerned that tourism appears to be on the back burner despite being the lifeblood of the local economy. The industry. The days of the package holiday are in decline and more and more people are organising their own holidays. There was also no mention of the importance of trying to increase winter tourism. His speech came at a time when the Balearic tourist industry is preparing to head to London for the World Travel Market tourism showpiece. It will be the first time that the new rainbow coalition has attended this event and naturally the travel trade will want assurances that there will be no return to the ill-fated tourist tax which the coalition introduced last time they were in power. I think, with the help of industry, the Balearics needs to start developing a blue-print for the future of tourism. This should take into account that the season is getting shorter every year and that winter tourism is in decline. There are resorts on the mainland, which are in direct competition with these islands, which remain open almost 12 months a year. So there is plenty to be done. Antich´s speech was certainly for the domestic audience but he must remember that these islands´ economic well-being is decided in Northern Europe.
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