Palma.—Hugh Morgan was one of a number of captains of the European tourist industry taking part in a round table meeting in Palma yesterday and he had some stern words for the Balearic government.

Last year, Cosmos, which is part of the Monarch Group, made a huge play for the Balearics. At one point they were operating 12 flights per week down to Majorca and Minorca.

And one of the main reasons for Morgan and his team making such a huge effort was because they had been promised help and backing from the Balearic government and the Council of Minorca.

Sadly, Monarch never saw a penny emerge from the deal they signed with the tourism authorities in Minorca and very little, if any thing, finally forthcame from Palma.

So, yesterday he criticised the government for failing to stimulate winter tourism and help those tour operators keen on making winter in the Balearics work. “I'm not talking about finance, I'm talking about assistance in marketing and promotions. We took a huge risk at great cost last year. We literally covered London with blanket adverts about winter in Majorca and Minorca while the local authorities sat back, risk free,” Morgan said. “As a result, this winter we're operating two flights per week from London and Manchester only during half terms until February. “It's not the fault of the airlines that there are no flights, if we don't get any institutional incentives from the Balearics, we can no longer afford to shoulder all of the risk,” Morgan told the Bulletin prior to having lunch with the new Balearic President, Jose Ramon Bauza.

Morgan hopes that having a new government might make some difference. “I know they've got no money, but I would like to see some sensible marketing strategies being devised and put on the table in front of us. There is demand for winter holidays in the Balearics during the winter but we, as tour operators need incentives to embark upon launching a winter programme,” he said. “I love Majorca, I live here and the weather during the winter is conducive to a whole series of activities but we need helping in marketing the island and making it worth our while operating a regular flight service. “We're the only airline flying to Minorca this winter, it's all very frustrating and very disappointing to be honest,” he added. “And the latest market figures speak for themselves and I would hope that they set alarm bells ringing and prompt some kind of positive response from the authorities.” Morgan's comments were supported by the Chairman of Jumbo Tours, Basilio Guerra, who agreed that winter in Majorca has so much potential but it is being wasted.

He said that all sectors of the tourist industry, public and private, need to get involved in a scheme which will encourage the airlines to increase their winter flight programmes. “Let's hope this new government will adopt a new approach,” said Morgan. “But it's going to be a bleak winter this year.”


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