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By Humphrey Carter PALMA

LAST year, the recession cost the Balearics a large slice of its domestic tourism market and, despite talk of luring Spaniards back to the island this year, it appears that many may find coming to the Balearics too expensive.

Throughout the winter the UK travel industry has been advising the Balearic hotel sector to reduce its rates, some hoteliers have taken note while others object to being bossed about by the large tour operators.

However, yesterday the Balearics was issued with a similar warning by the domestic Spanish holiday industry.

The President of Aedave, the Spanish Association of Travel Agent Businesses, Jose Manuel Maciñeiras, said yesterday that bookings for Easter and the forthcoming San Jose bank holiday are much more encouraging than last year and that the industry is quietly confident that Easter will be busy.

He said that after the harsh winter, many Spaniards are desperate for some sunshine and are going to be heading for the coast.
But, he said that while demand for the Costa Blanca, for example, is very high, he fears that unless hoteliers in the Balearics, and to a lesser extent the Canaries, drop their prices, many domestic tourists will opt to stay on the mainland because it will be much cheaper.

He also added that spa breaks are proving popular as are long haul holidays.