tourist heads have come under fire for expensive hotel rates and for straying
from its core market.
Speaking at an ABTA Convention debate on the Spanish
tourist industry – which hosted 14.5 million Brits last year – Thomas Cook
managing director Manny Fontenla-Novoa claimed hoteliers will face real
problems next summer unless they reduce prices.
Europe chief executive Peter Rothwell said the government should make sure it supported
its mainstream business through initiatives such as tax breaks or extending the
season. He added the Spanish tourist industry’s upmarket drive was making “no
difference to the economy or the real volume out of the UK”.
general secretary of tourism German Porras claimed AC Nielsonresearch had shown prices for destinations had actually
lowered by £6 and passenger numbers would increase slightly this year.
director of tourism Eduardo Gamero said the country needed to extend its season
and would do that through developing its specialist businesses – themed on
areas including golf, marine life and culture.
Gamero pledged there would be no return to the eco–tax which
was scrapped earlier this year. He said money would be found from government
and from business and the tax “should never have happened in the first place”. Environmental projects should continue, he said, but
without taking money out of the pockets of customers.“We believe our customers pay enough in taxes already,” he added.