British tourists stranded at Palma airport.

Hoteliers forecast a massive drop in holiday bookings due to the weekend's coach strike, while trade unions underlined that it was a “great success”. The National Hoteliers Association “Zontur” are claiming that there will be a dramatic drop in bookings for the Balearic Islands, directly caused by the chaotic scenes at Palma airport last weekend. Hotel and tour operators islandwide are gravely concerned that the repercussions for the Majorcan tourist trade may be irreversible. The reaction of arriving and departing tourists over the three day strike voiced an almost unanimous opinion that they were disgusted with their ordeal, and that they would think twice before ever visiting again. General Secretary of Zontur, Felipe Gaspart said yesterday that “the effects of the strike have been most negative for the Balearics.” This feeling was contrasted by the General Secretary of the Federation of Transport, the CCOO union leader Juan Cortez. He proudly announced that the strike was a major success and the driver had managed to cause chaotic scenes. Cortez commented yesterday that he hoped an accord would be reached with managers before long, and that although he was pleased with the strike's success, the coach drivers would never again collapse the airport in the way they did this weekend. “All drivers took part in the strike” he said “we have now seen that they've all returned to work.” He added that the drivers will be meeting again this week to see what further action they need to take, after this meeting the shop stewards will sit with management again and hopes are strong that an accord can be reached soon. The Association of Spanish Charter Airlines (AECA) announced yesterday that they will be suing the unions for damages. President of AECA, Felipe Navio, said it had been an absolute “nightmare” and had cost the airlines many millions of pesetas. “AECA will be sitting down with the rest of the tourist industry to look at the chaotic situations we've seen at the airport”. General Secretary of the Spanish Socialist Party and leader of the opposition, Jose Luis Zapatero, said that in his opinion the Central Madrid Government should have done more to stop the strike because it had given a terrible image of Spain. He feels that the government have done nothing to solve the situation.


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