If the Balearic Ministry for Tourism wants to find and develop new markets, especially in Eastern Europe, steps are also going to have to be taken to make sure that the local tourist industry is prepared to meet the needs of new feeder markets. Tourists from new destinations means new languages and problems have already arisen. Yesterday a group of registered tour guides, members of the Association of Professional Tour Guides, blocked the paths of four coaches in Valldemossa carrying Polish, Czech and Russian tourists. The angry guides have also denounced a number of tour firms for failing to hire registered tour guides. Head of the association which represents some 200 guides, Dolores Garcia, said yesterday that between 25 and 30 per cent of excursions in the Balearics are illegal, she said that the law states that registered guides must be used. In the past the reasons for using non-registered guides have been numerous and complex, however, this year, especially with regards to the tours stopped in Valldemossa, tour firms are having problems finding Eastern European language speakers in the Balearics, never mind amongst the members of the tour guide association. “We have to be able to speak English and one other principal European language, we can't be expected to speak Swahili,” Garcia said, explaining that the law states that if the guide does not speak the language, then a translator should be hired to accompany him or her. Valldemossa Local Police were needed to resolve the dispute and break up the blockade in the coach car park before the tours could continue. Two inspectors from the Minister for Tourism also visited the scene and have opened an inquiry. President of the Association of Balearic Travel Agents, Jaume Bauza, said that tourist guides in Majorca have failed to move with the times and do not speak the languages of the new visitors, as far as he is concerned, that is the crux of the problem. He also said that the poor summer season has not helped the situation either “when everything is going well nobody complains,” he said.


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