WHAT an interesting debate over the issue of all-inclusive holidays we've been having through our letters to the editor column over the last 10 days. What is clear to me, I am afraid to say, is that this sort of package holiday is here to stay. The local minister of tourism, Joan Flaquer, said there was little the local authorities could do to outlaw it as it was just a straight marketing policy. If you own a small bar and depend on tourists for your livelihood then the future looks bleak because I suspect that more hotels will be going all-inclusive over the next few years. The local government in their wisdom is calling for bars and restaurants in resorts to specialise, in other words offer something unique which will drive tourists out of their hotels. Easier said than done. My one criticism of bars and restaurants in tourist resorts is that the majority offer the same thing; British beer and food and Sky TV. If your hotel is offering the same thing then it is unlikely that you are going to venture out, especially if you can eat and drink for free because it's been prepaid in your package. We have to remember that the great majority of holidaymakers who come to these shores have a limited budget. They are not going to part with their hard-earnt money easily especially if they are on an all-inclusive package. Bar and restaurant owners have to be slightly more imaginative if they are to succeed in this ever more competitive market place. Keep your prices low and offer quality is my advice. What we are seeing at the moment is another page being turned in the history of tourism on the island. It's bad news for some, but if the island wants to continue to remain competitive, perhaps it's the right solution.
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