Half of interviewees have no intention of visiting.

A survey of the Balearics' image in Germany, conducted for the local Ministry for Tourism, has revealed that most Germans and visitors to the islands, especially Majorca and Ibiza, say the islands are “too congested and there are too many tourists.” Of the 7.800 Germans questioned, many believe that the tourist tax and the building freezes are good ideas and will help to resolve the region's key problems. Majorca is the most popular island with the most to do and the best value for money, while Ibiza is popular for its nightlife. The study has discovered that few Germans believe the region has changed over the past few years, for better or for worse and the climate, beaches, nightlife and countryside were singled out as some of the region's main attractions. But Germans are concerned about mass tourism, low levels of cleanliness, lack of nature preservation and safety. Half of Germans love Majorca, while the other half have no intention of coming. Tourism Minister Celesti Alomar stressed the need to “maintain and improve relations with some of our best clients” adding that he will be addressing the problems and talking to tourism bosses at the ITB Berlin travel fair, which opens tomorrow, next week.Klaus Laepple, President of the DRV Association of German Travel Agents and Tour Operators said on the eve of the ITB that one in five German employees are worried about losing their job, which is why a number of people are leaving booking their holiday until they know they have job security. But that does not mean a late surge in Balearic bookings. Destinations in fashion with the Germans this year are Bulgaria, which is almost fully booked for the summer already, Croatia and Turkey, which in terms of the number of German visitors is reaching the same figures as Majorca. Romania is also expecting to see an increase in German visitors and positive developments are also being seen in the Canaries and Southern Spain. Laepple said what all the above destinations have in their favour is their “family-friendly facilities and a favourable price-to-performance ratio.” Long haul destinations are also performing well, but Germany still remains the most popular destination for well over a third of Germans and the German Tourist Board is expecting to see many more holidaying on home soil this summer. Last summer, German holiday sales rose by 25 per cent. German bookings for summer 2002 in the Balearics are currently down 28 per cent and another reason for the sluggish holiday market is that travel prices in Germany have risen by 4.1 per cent, which has only added to the precarious condition of the German economy. However, Laepple believes that “everything is possible” for the coming summer season. The German travel industry has already launched a number of promotional initiatives to revive sales to struggling markets, such as the Balearics, in particular by offering highly attractive rates for families with children and even offering under 16*s spending money.