BALEARIC tourism chief Joan Flaquer said yesterday that his department was prepared to help bar and restaurant owners beat the negative impact of all inclusive holidays on their businesses, but made it clear he would not ban something which is “just another marketing strategy.” He said that the government could set standards for quality in hotels which offer all inclusive deals, and “help the complementary offer improve and overcome the situation.” However, he made it quite clear that “what we cannot do is deceive people by saying that we will ban something which is nothing more than a marketing strategy.” It would be very difficult to close the doors to it, he added.
Speaking at a Press conference after a government meeting, he said that his department had opened talks with the restaurant and complementary offer sector to find “corrective measures” which would ease the situation. He added that Ibatur, the Balearic Tourism Institute, is working with restaurant associations to promote island gastronomy.
He also said that the committee of experts set up to analyse the impact of all inclusive holidays will help define the Balearic government's policy in this field. The news is unlikely to reassure local businesses.
According to a new survey by Pimem (Small and Medium Sized Businesses), 87 per cent of its members, not just bar and restaurant owners, say their interests have been damaged by all inclusive holidays. This percentage rises to 100 per cent in the coastal resorts.
As a result, Jaume Rossello, chairman of Pimem's industrial section, asked for the sector to be included in future talks about all inclusive holidays, claiming that the effects on the economy are not confined to the tourist sector.
However, Balearic hoteliers have gained confidence this summer, as profits have risen compared to last season.
This was revealed in a survey by Gadeso, which also echoed the plight of restaurant owners, hit not only by all inclusive holidays but by their own high prices. But while hoteliers in Majorca and Ibiza were jubilant, those in Minorca and Formentera were not so happy.
Most of the hoteliers said that instead of trying to bring more visitors in the winter, the tourism authorities should do more to lengthen the high season.T his will come as a blow to the ministry which has been investing time and money into encouraging more winter visitors, which it hopes to attract by offering greater sports facilities such as golf and cycling holidays. It also hopes to attract more lucrative congresses and conferences, particularly when the new congress hall in Palma is built. Still in the planning stages, construction is due to start at the end of next year.


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