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The Balearic government and the Majorca Hoteliers Federation managed to keep a lid on their differences over the tourist tax at the World Travel Market in London this week but today, now they were all back in Majorca, open warfare broke out.

The vice-president and minister for tourism, Biel Barcelo, proclaimed that, as far as the UK tour operators and airlines were concerned, the tourist tax was not issue; in fact, they are apparently quite cool with it and urged the federation to back off. However, the president of the federation, Inmaculada Benito, has returned with a very different impression.

Today, she replied to Barcelo by not only reminding the minister what tour operator chiefs from the UK and Germany have been saying for months over the tourist tax, but also stressing by that in London the hoteliers a had great deal of concern over the tax from their clients.

Barcelo got into London fast and was quick to announce that the tax will be introduced on 1 May next year, and his biggest critic, the Spanish minister for tourism, Jose Manuel Soria, arrived at the fair last with little opportunity for any quality time for face-to-face talks with the Balearic delegation.

While WTM may well have passed off smoothly - all food and bicycles - the gloves are off, and it is going to be a tense winter for the industry.