STAFF REPORTER TOUR operators in recession-hit Germany are cutting their prices at a record rate to secure business for their operations in the Balearics next year. Volker Böttcher, President of TUI yesterday described their cost cutting exercise to kick start sales for next year in the Islands and other destinations such as Turkey as “historic.” Speaking at a presentation of TUI's 2009-2010 winter programme in Hamburg, Böttcher said: “It's impossible to put up prices at a time when the economy is so unstable. Already, we have finished negotiations with Balearic hoteliers about prices in 2010 which are well down on those that we agreed for this summer of 2009.” Böttcher said it was the only way to tackle the recession's knock-on effect in the holiday industry and to be sure that there will be sales next year. “We've never seen anything like it before,” he said, adding that the Balearic hoteliers had agreed with his views and collaborated fully in establishing the new price structure. The hoteliers, said Böttcher, were mindful that there were other holiday destinations outside the euro zone which were providing stiff competition. “But we can't lose our nerve,” he said, giving assurances that Majorca was to be the number one holiday destination for the Germans in 2010. “The good air connections for both the United Kingdom and Germany with Majorca, as well as the hotel quality, services and infrastructure, guarantee that the island will have no problem in attracting clients next year.” Minorca and Ibiza are not in the same position, he said, so that the tour operator activity on these two islands is going to be reduced next year, said Böttcher.

He was not however, very optimistic about the outcome of this year's tourist season. “It is impossible to repeat the success of 2008,” he said.
Unable to make monthly forecasts because of the instability of the market, he said that both hoteliers and tour operators were having to work on a week to week basis.

He added that nevertheless, there were still 14 million Germans who hadn't decided where they were going to go for their summer holidays.