This weekend's long bank holiday in the Balearics has highlighted the poor post-September 11th condition of the local tourist industry with hotel bookings down 30 per cent on the same time last year with ten per cent less hotels open for business. Ironically, overseas bookings are not the industry's main concern. The bulk of the 30 per cent slump has been registered in the domestic market and the Balearic commercial sector is also starting to feel the repercussions and is braced for a bleak winter on the high streets. Despite the fact that hotel prices are continuing to fall and that travel agents have been offering attractive deals to the Balearics for this long weekend, tourism industry bosses say that the biggest problem is a fear of flying. On the mainland there has been a huge surge in demand for rail and coach travel, however the only alternative method of travelling to the Balearics is by sea. A substantial number of hotel bookings have been cancelled over the past few weeks and travel agents and hoteliers are becoming increasingly concerned about the reluctance of mainlanders to fly to the Balearics. But while hotels are being directly affected by the slump, the knock on effects for the Balearics' economy are numerous. With Christmas and the festive season on the horizon, the commercial sector is worried that takings will be down on last year quite simply because of the lack of people, never mind the economic downturn. What is more, the light at the end of the tunnel for the Balearic tourist industry is looking rather faint at the moment. Latest market research in the UK by AC Neilsen has shown that bookings for winter 2001-2002 fell by 32 per cent last month. The decline is equivalent to 88'000 holiday places and has cost tour operators nearly £60 million. But it is not only bookings for this winter which have been hit. Data collected from 3'500 tour operator outlets has shown that bookings for summer 2002, were down by 34 per cent in comparison to last year with the UK's two most popular destinations, the United States and Spain, which attracts 12 million Britons a year, being worst hit. The UK travel industry however, is still optimistic that the downturn is merely a short term phenomenon. Using the Gulf War as the closest parallel, when bookings fell by between 30 and 40 per cent, the main reason was that people were just postponing when they were going to book. Over the course of the year bookings recovered to show a decline of just one to two per cent. But, should the war on terrorism develop in to a long drawn out military campaign - bookings may take a lot longer to recover.