The summer tourist season officially gets underway in the Balearics on Tuesday, but hotels are either staying closed or telling their staff to take an early holiday themselves. According to the Majorcan Hotel Federation, hotel bosses are having to lay off staff for a while because they have not got enough clients and that some establishments due to open this week for the summer, have decided to postpone their opening dates until demand and bookings start to pick up. The President of the federation, Ignaci Esteve, said yesterday usually on May 1, some 1'000 hotels offering 400'000 beds open for business unfortunately that's not the case this year. While some resorts, in particular the German dominated Playa de Palma, suffered a slow start to last season, Esteve claims that bookings are currently between 25 and 30 per cent down in comparison to the start of the season last year. The German market is proving to be a real disaster, Esteve said. The Hotel Federation is also perplexed by the local government's claims this week that while tourism is down, the amount being spent by holidaymakers has increased. Just ask the shopkeepers in the resorts, in particular the Playa de Palma, Esteve said. The response will surprise the authorities as everybody is complaining, and it's not just the hotel owners, he added. The hotel sector is convinced that the problem stems from the approval of the tourist tax which is having negative repercussions. Esteve said that things are not looking good. It's not normal that the hotel sector starts the season with bookings at just 40 per cent. Esteve said that the biggest slump is in the German market while the bookings in the British and Scandinavian market, as the Bulletin published yesterday, are similar to previous years.
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