Palma.—The association was forced to relocate at the last minute to Palma last year for security reasons because its convention was due to have been held in Tunisia in the midst of the Arab Spring, but when the convention at the Pueblo Español closed, ABTA bosses pledged to return in 2013 because it would be ten years since the last convention in Palma.

However, at last week's convention in Turkey, it was announced that next year, ABTA will be heading to Turkey.
The convention will be held in the historic coastal town of Dubrovnik, from 21-23 October 2013 and it will be the first time the convention has been held in Croatia.

In the last 12 months Croatia has seen a substantial 22 percent rise in UK visitor numbers and hosting the 2013 Travel Convention is a recognition of the importance of the UK market to Croatia as well as an opportunity to develop closer, mutually beneficial working ties with the UK travel industry, something the Balearic Ministry for Tourism has failed to do this year.

The news has come as a blow to Majorca because not only does the event attract nearly 1'000 delegates and provide Majorca with a chance to show its self off to captains of the UK travel industry, it always gives the local travel sector a boost.

ABTA sources admitted yesterday that Palma was the initial destination for 2013 but because the convention was held here last year, the association has decided to go to Croatia instead despite its every ten year commitment to the island. “But, this does not mean that Spain and the Balearics is no longer a very important destination for ABTA. Over the past six convention, five have been held in Spain and ABTA will be back in Palma within the next ten years,” an ABTA source told the Bulletin.

Here, industry chiefs were trying to hide their disappointment claiming that the Majorcan authorities do not have the money to help fund such an event at the moment and that it was due to have been held in the new convention centre on which construction work has been halted.

Nevertheless, this should be considered as a wake up call to the fact that Majorca and the Balearics is facing increasingly tough competition and can no longer afford to rest on its laurels.