By Humphrey Carter

SPANISH Tourism Secretary Juan Costa yesterday praised the new Balearic government's intention to scrap the controversial tourist tax, claiming that the move will have “very positive results.” However, Costa said that the tourist tax is not the only problem the Balearic tourist industry is suffering: “to some extent Balearic tourism and its poor behaviour” is to blame, he added. Balearic president-elect Jaume Matas is expected to be sworn into office next week along with his new cabinet and has vowed to immediately set to work on “saving the summer season.” Matas has said that step one is to scrap the tax, as publicised in the Partido Popular's election manifesto.
Over the past few weeks, all of the major tour operators and industry organisations across Europe have praised Matas for his decision and his willingness to repair the rift between the Balearic government and the tourist industry. The secretary general for tourism, Germán Porras, yesterday urged hoteliers to start thinking ahead to next season and start negotiating contracts.
Porras believes that there will be further growth in the industry next season and that hoteliers need to start preparing and improving services and facilities in order to compete with other rival destinations, especially developing destinations in the Mediterranean. He also pointed out that package holiday sales to Spain have fallen 2.5 per cent while the independent holiday market had grown by nearly 10 per cent.

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