A number of hoteliers and owners of businesses dependent on the tourist industry have decided to postpone their opening dates because of the gloomy industry forecast. Chairman of the Confederation of Balearics Business Associations (CAEB) Josep Oliver, confirmed yesterday that a number of businesses will be opening much later than usual, preferring to wait for holiday bookings to pick up. Minister for Tourism, Celesti Alomar, admitted that there is a slump in bookings but brushed aside claims that the price of package holidays to the Balearics is to blame. Alomar said that Turkey and Egypt, are enjoying sharp increases in bookings because they suffered a severe slump in the months after September 11. But according to the CAEB, parts of the business sector are not prepared to take any risks and, while having closed unusually early at the end of last season, are preferring to wait until the tourist industry picks up. Tourism aside, Josep Oliver, praised the government for taking steps to regulate drinking in the streets, although he said “regulation is a better solution to prohibition.”

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