Palma.—Both the ruling Partido Popular and the opposition Socialists on the council agreed yesterday that the plan should be discussed with retailers and businesses in the areas which have been earmarked in order to get consensus. Although the separate Majorcan Socialist coalition voted against the move, Councillor Joan Mateos said that encouraging tourist trade in parts of the city centre was a key strategy to galvanise business and cultural activity, particularly at the weekends. Tourism Councillor Alvaro Gijon pointed out that 40 percent of cruise tourists coming to the city arrive on a Saturday and can't find any of the shops open.

Meanwhile, shopkeepers and managers of bars, cafés and restaurants said yesterday that they would look favourably on the Council not making a decision on the matter until they have had time to deliberate on it.

Bartolomé Servera, the President of small to medium-sized business association “Afedeco” said that shops and businesses will need to make an effort to “shift up a gear” and adapt to the needs of the potential client market.

But he cautioned the Council by saying that forcing traders to abide by a decree without their consent is not going to automatically result in livening the economy in the city. “It would be an error to do so,” he said. Bernat Coll, President of small businesses association “Pimeco” was not so keen. He said that the “areas of particular interest for tourists” have already been marked out but the numbers of shoppers hasn't increased.

He said that the Council's intentions may mean the end of the small trader. “More hours open doesn't necessarily mean extra cash, nor jobs,” he alleged.

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