17 percent of people in Britain won´t travel until after war

Staff Reporter
THERE was some bad news for the Majorcan tourist industry yesterday with a poll by the Association of British Travel Agents showing that 17 percent of people in Britain would not be booking their holiday until the Iraq war finished. A further six percent, who usually holiday abroad, said that this year they would not be taking a foreign holiday because of the world uncertainty.
With President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair both indicating that the war will not be resolved in a matter of weeks it looks as if the Majorcan tourist industry is facing a rather gloomy Easter. Many Majorcan hotels have decided not to open until after Easter, a state of affairs almost unheard of over recent years with the summer season usually getting underway when the first Easter eggs appeared in shop windows. The leading three tour firms have been forced to slash their prices in an effort to encourage bookers. But there appear to be few takers.
Tourism to Turkey has almost been wiped out and Greece and Cyprus are also feeling the tremours from Iraq.
But what will worry hoteliers here the most is that people are planning to stay at home until the war finishes. There was a feeling that the Balearics would benefit as a so-called safe haven but it appears that many people are electing to just stay put. The news comes as the Balearic Tourist industry heads to London for the Steps tourism trade fair, which is organised by Turespaña, the national government promotion body. Leading the Balearic delegation will be Tiffany Blackman, Director of the Tourist Promotion Body, IBATUR. She will be joined by local hoteliers, travel agents and airlines. They will all be trying to put a brave face on the present state of affairs. A series of talks with tour operators are planned for next week. It is unclear whether the heir to the throne, Prince Felipe, will be opening the fair. Turespaña, after talks with IBATUR and other provincial departments across Spain, has decided to postpone all promotional campaigns until the war is over. With Germany in deep recession and Britain feeling the full affects of the war and the economic slowdown there are now serious fears for the summer season. Another major fall in visitor numbers would have a major knock-on effect on the Balearic economy which is already struggling. Last year tourism to the Balearics fell by more than one million visitors (mostly German) and there are fears that the situation could be even worse this year.


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