THE Balearic government announced on the eve of last night's mass protests that all official functions, parties and celebrations planned for the ITB Berlin travel fair in Berlin next week have been cancelled. This year, in response to two years of sharp decline in the number of German visitors coming to the Balearics, the government had planned to push the boat out in Berlin and go to town on promoting the new local government's post tourism tax policies. However, in view of developments this week, the programme of events has been shelved.
The promotional acts involving Hollywood actor Michael Douglas and German tennis star Boris Becker will however go ahead in the presence of Tourism Minister Joan Flaquer, but they will be kept low key, serious and respectful. All the musical and cultural events programmes at the Balearic stand have also been cancelled along with presentation cocktail parties. Minister Flaquer was forced to admit yesterday that, in the short term, the Madrid bombings will have a negative effect on holiday bookings in general, most likely in those European countries unaccustomed to terrorist attacks. However, Flaquer who has been in contact with the Secretary of State for Tourism since the blasts, is confident that bookings will return to normal eventually. “Spain is a safe destination and this is the image we must get across,” the Minister said yesterday. On March 15, Flaquer will meet representatives from all of Germany's main tour operators, to not only give safety reassurances but also discuss the holiday market and this coming summer in general. Boris Becker will appear at the Balearic stand later that afternoon while Michael Douglas will be promoting the Balearics on Tuesday.

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