Palma.—This year's National Budget mapped out by a ruling Partido Popular (PP) Central Government envisages a 27 percent reduction in subsidies provided for European and national pensioners' tourism.

Over the next 2012-2013 winter period, the move will mean that an estimated 210'000 holidays will reduce to 146'000.
Hoteliers in the Balearics said that this seemingly low profile decision has put paid to efforts by the regional tourist industry to extend economic activity into low and mid season periods.

Josep Oliver, President of the Balearic Business Federation (CAEB) was lambasting the Central Government decision yesterday. “This will mean that all tourist activity on the island will be affected,” said Oliver. “It's not simply a question of less national pensioners coming here,” he furthered, “it's the fact that there will be less connectivity - not so many flights and a downturn in private coach transport services.” He said the resorts which depend on tourism for survival will be badly hit in low season. “It seems totally counterproductive to cut subsidies for an industry which generates jobs and wealth.” Inmaculada de Benito, the Managing Director of the Majorcan Hoteliers' Federation (FEHM) said that hotels which remain open in the winter have an 82 percent occupancy rate only because they collaborate with the “Imserso” pensioners' holiday scheme. Those resorts which will be most affected this coming winter by Central Government cuts are the Playa de Palma and Palmanova-Magalluf, said de Benito. The senior European Union citizens winter holiday programme is also cancelled after the elimination of 4.5 million euros of funds.

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