Biel Barceló to face the tourism committee over the Low Cost Travel Group affair. | R.D.


The Balearic parliament's tourism committee is to hold an extraordinary session on Wednesday morning in order that tourism minister Biel Barceló can answer questions regarding the collapse of the Low Cost Travel Group.

The call for Barceló to appear has been led by the Partido Popular. Its tourism affairs spokesperson, Alvaró Gijón, says that the failure of Low Cost will have a significant impact on local businesses, which are owed up to 50 million euros. (This figure, widely quoted, has been questioned in some circles.) Moreover, it has created a very difficult situation for former employees and more than 20,000 tourists. "They have had to pay a second time for staying in the Balearics," claims Gijón.

All parties have supported the PP call, with Gijón stressing the need for explanations and "solutions to minimise the effects of the bankruptcy".

Jaume Font of El Pi is comparing the situation with the bread manufacturer Bimbo. Parliament expressed its support for Bimbo workers who were made redundant but this was, in his opinion, only a "sentiment". Will it now be the same with the Low Cost employees? Words of comfort but nothing being done.

David Abril of Més doesn't believe that the collapse of Low Cost will be the last of its kind in the Balearics. "There is a confluence of private interests linked to the financial speculation surrounding the tourism economy. The underlying problem needs to be addressed, which is this speculation, as it endangers the principal industry in the Balearics."

PSOE's Isabel Oliver has thanked Barceló for volunteering to appear before parliament, saying that this represents a huge difference with the previous government, from which fewer explanations were offered to parliament.

Barceló's appearance before the committee is also expected to allow for a report on developments in respect of the anticipated legislation on holiday rentals.