Palma.—Central Government is coming under increasing pressure from all sectors of the country's business and tourism industries to think twice before putting up airport taxes.

Yesterday, the Majorcan Tourist Board sent official letters of complaint to the Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, and the Minister for Development, Ana Pastor, clearly outlining why it opposed the threatened hikes and the potential damage such a move will cause the country's tourist industry and economy as a whole. “We live off tourism, it's our life line,” the Tourist Board's President Eduardo Gamero, told the Bulletin last weekend and that pretty much goes for much of Spain whose main industry is tourism. In view of the current financial climate in Spain and in the rest of Europe, the Tourist Board has urged Central Government to reconsider its intentions because “any- thing which will result in an increase in holiday prices will hamper the country's competitiveness” and could lead to a decline in demand for holidays.

In the letter, Gamero has reminded Rajoy that Palma airport is one of the most lucrative for the Spanish airport authority AENA and any hikes in airport taxes will be “unfair” and only serve to “penalise” the Balearic tourist industry.

Over the past few years, airport and passenger taxes have continually risen in Palma. Passenger taxes have shot up 30 percent over the past three years alone. Gamero claimed that with British tour operators braced for a very late booking price sensitive market, putting up airports taxes makes no sense at all. “We should be helping the airlines, encouraging people to fly to Spain and the Balearics, not pricing ourselves out of the market.”


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