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Taxing times for tourists

WITH the continuing unrest in places like Turkey, Greece and Egypt, sensible Brits are opting for a safer bet and choosing their holiday destinations closer to home. Families are planning to head to Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Malta in their droves.

What those families hadn’t reckoned on was the sheer greed of holiday bosses, as they cash in on a surge of bookings to Spain after the ISIS attacks.

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Brits headed for the Balearics have been slapped with a ‘tourist tax’ of up to £70. The new tax will add up to two euros a night per person paid to hotels from July. Similarly, those who have booked holidays in Malta will be charged an equivalent of 40p per night from June.

Quite rightly holidaymakers have taken to social media en masse to accuse tourism bosses of making a quick buck on the back of the terrorist attacks. It’s shameful. Spare a thought for the hoteliers and restaurateurs in places like Sharm-el-Sheikh and Tunisia who will have no income coming in from tourism this year. Even if things calm down a bit, it will take a long time for Brits and other northern Europeans to be persuaded back to those distant and currently dangerous shores.

‘THINK before you Tweet’ should be emblazoned on everyone’s smart‘phones and tablets these days. We’ve all posted stupid things on Facebook after a few beers or sent an inappropriate text, either to the right or wrong person, but this week Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell found himself accused of racism in what has been branded a ‘crass and clumsy’ tweet.

Alastair Campbell was at a Leicester City game (it looks like they’re going to do it, by the way, after their 4-0 win over Swansea) when he tweeted “Fantastic to see a fairly high proportion of non-white faces at Leicester game”. One wonders how well Mr Campbell is acquainted with the city of Leicester. It is one of the most ethnically diverse places in the country outside London.

A bit of a Tweet spat followed his comment with Ian Frankum saying:  “What a ridiculous Tweet, are you in a time machine? It’s a reflection of the local community. Simple.”

What’s the allegedly fanatical Burnley fan doing at a Leicester game anyway? And didn’t he see a similar mix of diversity when his team were playing the Foxes last season? Or maybe he was glory-hunting then as well and watching Chelsea instead?

I LIVED happily in Bristol for many, many years and love the city. But it seems that since it won the European Green Capital award in 2015 everything has gone to pot. The city council never needed any encouragement with its crazy cycling policies, crap bus services, parking zones and over-the-top 20mph speed limits, but it has gone one step further now. Residents have complained that the place is starting to smell of vinegar after the totally bonkers council started to use your common-or-garden chip shop condiment as a weed killer.

Vinegar is being trialled as an alternative to the chemical Glyposate – the active ingredient in Roundup and other weed killers – after ‘experts’ from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded it is ‘probably’ carcinogenic. Only in Brissle!

MEANWHILE, spare a thought for the four-year-old sheepdog Pero, who was given to a farm in Cockermouth in Cumbria for a trial. A month after arriving, the dog went missing while herding sheep. Farmer Alan James of Penrhyncoch in Wales couldn’t believe it when Pero turned up on his doorstep. The dog had travelled an incredible 240 miles in 12 days to get back to his owner.

My wife couldn’t do that in her car, even if she could work the sat nav. Clever dog!

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Kevan Blackadder

Written by Kevan Blackadder

Kevan Blackadder is a media consultant who runs Blackadder Media Limited. Kevan was previously editor of the Gloucestershire Echo and assistant editor of the Bristol Post. A Cumbrian who moved to the South West “for a couple of years” in the 1980s, he can’t quite believe he’s been there ever since.

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