Palma.—During a conference organised by the Majorcan Chamber of Commerce, 12 captains of the local tourist industry had some harsh words for the government.

The car rental sector wants the eco stealth tax to be scrapped because it has already forced rental rates up which have consequently led to a 40 percent fall in bookings despite an increase in the sale of package holidays to the island this year.

Sylvia Riera, President of the Association of Balearic Travel Agents, said that because the cost of services in Majorca have been pushed up by 13 percent, “we have received a large number of cancellations and the fiasco of the convention centre (on which work has been halted) is not helping the congress industry either.” “There are a lot of organisations which have been using Majorca for business convention and congresses but because we don't have the facilities and the island has become more expensive, they are looking to alternative destination,” she added. “What is more, the government bent over backwards for years to sell the convention centre which is far from finished. Before we know it, it will be full of squatters,” she said.

The President of the Chamber of Commerce, Juan Gual, said that the fiscal pressure on business in the Balearics has got to be eased and review the increase in VAT on bars and restaurants because it has only served to hit takings.

Many of the stealth taxes are not due to be enforced until April and Gual said that he hopes the government will sit down and review, and later where applicable, its fiscal porgramme before then, otherwise the Balearics and visitors could end up paying a very high price this summer.

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