News desk
WHILE most hoteliers are complaining of the poor season, with bookings lower than this time last year, one or two hotels have reported the risk of overbooking and have asked tour operators and travel agencies not to take any more bookings for these particular establishments until the latter part of August.

Tourism chief Joan Flaquer attributed this to the “uncertainty” in the sector. “What is important,” he said yesterday, “was to ensure that overbooking does not arise.” He stressed that his department will set up an information system covering tour operators, hoteliers, and travel agencies, in order to “control as far as possible any overbooking problems which may arise.” However, he said, he trusted to the professional standards of the tourist sector to tackle such questions.
But as a precaution, his ministry will control the situation to prevent such cases.
As to prices, negotiating these was “up to private enterprise,” that is, it is a matter between the hoteliers and the tour operators and in this field, all the government can do is “make recommendations,” Flaquer added.

He added that the Balearic government would not “intervene or control negotiations between tour operators and hoteliers.” He went on to say that his department had always warned that “a price war is dangerous,” and in order to compete with cheaper destinations such as Tunisia, Croatia or Turkey, whose labour and service costs are lower, what the Balearics should do is “improve quality and modernise.” He added that “the cost of diversification and quality must be reflected in prices.” The overbooking rumours come at the same time that figures released on a tourist survey show that the number of visitors to the Balearics in the first six months of the year, 3.81 million people, was two percent lower than the same period last year.

This was attributed to a six percent drop in the number of British visitors, only partially covered by a 5.3 percent increase in the number of Germans.

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