Europe's leading tour operator, TUI, is braced for a downturn in revenue this year. Juan Carlos Elías, head of TUI Spain's operations said yesterday that if the drop in tourism in the Balearics continues, losses could be as high as 18 per cent. Elias said that there is still time for bookings to recover, although all the talk and threats of strike action has not helped late bookings. Although the hostelry sector strikes are off, widespread reports of threats of industrial action forced people to consider other destinations. He also added that some Germans feel persecuted by the tourist tax and that a market recovery “will be difficult.” Last year, TUI, which owns Thomson Holidays, brought 2.5 million Germans on holidays to Spain, 1.2 million to the Balearics. Elias said that TUI will continue to push the Balearics “there is no other destination in the Mediterranean with such a good infrastructure, 400'000 beds and such a wide selection of things to do.” He also said that when the 2003 summer brochures come out in Germany in November, holiday prices will probably be frozen at this year's rates. But Elias stressed the need for the Balearics, with the same going for all of Spain's other destinations, to continue offering good value for money. He explained that with the introduction of the euro, its is much easier for tourists to compare prices between one Mediterranean destination and another.

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