German travel group Neckermann, which owns Thomas Cook and JMC, yesterday forecast an improvement in the German holiday market next summer. But before next summer's revival, the Balearics is going to have to endure a tough winter. Neckermann's Grunther Irager said yesterday that summer holiday bookings for the Balearics next summer will pick up between two and five per cent in Germany. But with regards to this summer, he said that bookings in Germany are down by 29 per cent and this winter will see a similar slump. Grunther Irager explained that rising unemployment in Germany and the tourist tax are two key factors for the drop in bookings, but he also pointed out the Balearics is facing stiff competition from Turkey and Croatia, for example, and the fact that Germans “think they are not welcome in the islands.” He denied that the tour firm has diverted clients to other destinations “people simply want to go to Turkey or Croatia or other destinations in Spain” he said. Andalucia is proving very popular this year and Cairo is also in big demand in Germany. The association of Spanish tour operators is confident however that, over all, tourism figures for Spain will match last year - with some destinations experiencing an increase and others, such as the Balearics and the Canaries, a decline. But what the industry is worried about is the drop in revenue.