Hotels in Spain's sunshine resorts had a gloomy Christmas and New Year, with bookings down on average by three percent in comparison to last year. While the Canaries managed to maintain its market, the Balearics posted the biggest fall in festive bookings. A spokesperson for ZONTUR, the body with group resort hotels across the country, confirmed yesterday that hotels in the Canaries were the only establishments which enjoyed a merry Christmas and happy New Year. ZONTUR are still trying to keep a brave face, though, and the spokesperson claimed that the drop in bookings has been “not because holidaymakers went elsewhere, but they just did not go anywhere.” However, in the case of the British market, the excuse does not hold water as a record number of Britons went away for Christmas or New Year this year - they just went somewhere else. ZONTUR believes that by the end of last year, Europeans were “tired” of travelling. The spokesperson said that the year 2000 was an “intense” one from the perspective of the tourist industry. The European football championship in Belgium and Holland and the Sydney Olympics were just two of the examples given as reasons why tourists did not want to travel any more by the end of last year. ZONTUR, assessing the development of the hotel industry last year, said yesterday that not only did hotel bookings decrease, but so too did the length of time tourists were staying. The spokesperson said that, on average, hotel guests reduced their stay by between two and three percent. But in the case of the Balearics, ZONTUR is adamant that the hotel industry has had an extra and significant cross to bear - the tourist tax. The association of Spanish resort hotels fully supports the opposing stance of the Majorcan Hotel Federation and believes that one of the factors which had a negative affect on the hotel trade last year was, and is, the tourist tax.

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