By Lois Jones

THE German ambassador to Spain, Georg Boomgarden, indicated yesterday that the current economic crisis in Germany could mean a further fall in the number of tourists who visit Spain. In spite of the fact that the unemployment rate in Germany affects only 10 per cent of the population, the majority of German citizens view their present situation as being insecure, resulting in a growth in savings and consequent reduction in spending, said Boomgarden, who yesterday met up with the leader of the Government of the Canary Islands, Román Rodríguez. The fear of flying because of possible terrorist attack has had less repercussion on tourism than was initially believed, although - in Boomgarden's opinion - heightening security is necessary in order for people to feel as safe as possible when travelling. In the judgement of the German ambassador, recent terrorist attacks in tourist hot spots outside of the Canary Islands and the Balearics could benefit the two destinations since German visitors consider the islands to be a safe place. But, the Canaries have the advantage of not having suffered rejection in the way that for example, the Balearics has, due to the introduction of the tourist tax. The meeting between the German ambassador and the leader of the Canary Islands formed part of a round of visits to all the self-governing communities.
Boomgarden, who was appointed ambassador to Spain four months ago, has already visited Navarra, Aragon and Catalonia.
Following the meeting with Rodríguez, the ambassador pointed to the large number of German tourists that visit the Canary Islands, as well as to the approximate 100'000 who are resident there. Regarding the recent municipal elections, the ambassador also highlighted the fact that German participation in local voting had been higher than on previous occasions. The Balearic resorts popular with the Germans are still very quiet, especially the Playa de Palma, although an influx of holiday makers is expected this weekend.


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