Palma.—The World Travel Market, one of the world's largest and most important travel trade fair opens in London tomorrow (Monday) with the Balearics in a comfortable position to consolidate which is already looking like a very positive summer for British package holiday bookings.

Year-on-year- sales of package holidays to the Balearics are already five percent up on this time last year with Majorca up four percent and the WTM comes just a few weeks ahead of the traditional booking period which is Christmas and January.

So, with the Balearics, already outstripping the market, this is a golden chance for the Balearic tourism bosses, the Minister for Tourism and the President, Jose Ramon Bauza, to set about wooing the British tour operators because, as the market stands at the moment the battle lines are drawn between the Balearics and Croatia in the British market.

Unfortunately, the Balearics are not going to have its traditionally large presence at the fair, although, after complaints, the stand will be larger than the one at the ITB fair in Berlin.

In an attempt to save money, the Balearic stands will this year be incorporated in the Turespaña, Spanish Tourist Board stand which has enabled the Ministry for Tourism to shave 34 percent off the budget for last year's WTM campaign.

However, 310'000 euros is still being spent on the Balearic stand which will be split into four zones, one for each of the islands and include meetings rooms and an office for the Balearic Tourism Agency.

Ministry for Tourism sources said that despite not having a stand-alone exhibition centre, the 330 square metre stand still gives the Balearics the same presence as it did last year and a series of meetings with the country's leading tour operators has been put together to discuss a variety of topics such as the implication of the increase in VAT on September 1, airport operating fees and how the Balearics and the tour operators can finally start to begin working together again in promoting and pushing the Balearics for next summer.

But, there will be plenty of competition, no less from the new emerging destinations.
This year, a total of 157 new exhibitors will be present at the event.
Tourist boards, technology companies, hotel chains, attractions and tour operators are all hosting their own stands for the first time until November 8.

Europe leads the way in new exhibitors with tourism boards and offices from as far apart as San Marino, Lille and Belarus – as well as the Economic Development Ministry of the Republic of Komi, in North Western Russia.