By Humphrey Carter
MARTIN Wellings, the new President of ABTA, the Association of British Travel Agents, yesterday gave his full backing to Majorca's drive to boost quality tourism. Wellings, one of the guests of honour at last night's Majorcan Tourist Board centenary celebrations in Palma, said that the Balearics has to make an even greater effort to attract more quality tourists. “Majorca has traditonally been a market leader and it has to take a major step forward. “The cheap sun seekers have new non-Euro zone destinations like Croatia and Bulgaria, as well as Greece and Turkey. “What Majorca should be doing is improving the quality of its tourists industry and catering for more quality tourists. “In the short term, it will be hard, especially for the private hotelier who may have to spend some money in improvements, but in the long term it will pay dividend. “Perhaps local and even central governent should be looking to help the small hoteliers,” Welling said.
However, he said that Majorca is going in the wrong direction by allowing the all-inclusive market to continue growing. “I think it's a great shame, whereas they have a place in destinations like the Caribbean, I can't see the point of all inclusive in Majorca. “Apart from the fact they are not aimed at the quality tourism market, they do little for the local environment and local economy,” he said. “Majorca appears to be at a cross-roads, on the one hand pushing quality tourism and on the other approving all-inclusive growth. “The Majorcan tourist industry will have to make a bold decision and brace itself for a drop in package holidaymakers and cheap sun seekers,” he added. “In the long run, less holidaymakers, but quality tourists, is the future for Majorca,” he said.
Welling explained that tour operators are going to have to focus their packgage holiday market on long haul destinations. “We no longer need to be taken by the hand on European holidays and travel agents in Britain are creating personalised packages for our customers. The internet and low-cost air travel has changed the industry so much; it is the tour operators who are going to find it hardest to adjust,” he said. Welling, the managing directyor of Personal Service Travel said yesterday that the Majorcan tourism has no need to panic “it just has to realign itself with the market changes.”

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