Annoouncing that steps to lay off 11 per cent of Iberia's workforce are about to be taken, the airline's director general, Enrique Donaire, said in Palma yesterday that the Balearics is the ideal “refuge destination” in view of the current global crisis. While the Balearic government, which held crisis talks with the local tourist industry this week, believes that the region's industry could benefit from the crisis which is crippling tourist industries in the Middle East and North Africa, little, or nothing, has so far been done to try and bolster tourism this winter. But Enrique Donaire's comments yesterday will help to ease concerns in the region's tourist industry which is currently reeling from the effects of international instability. And clearly the Balearic government and its tourism departments have their work cut out. Donaire revealed yesterday that charter airline traffic this summer in the Balearics fell by 30 per cent, meaning that for some airlines the crisis could not have come at a worse time. Iberia's director general, saying that a number of factors are to blame for the slump, singled out fears of the tourist tax as one of the reasons.

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