By Jason Moore

IF anyone thought that there was going to be a calm political run-in to the local elections in the Spring, they were mistaken. The local minister for tourism Joana Barcelo has come under pressure to resign after two of her key officials, the highly capable director of tourism promotion Mar Guerrero and the director of finance at the department resigned earlier this week.

The two quit their posts as a result of a disagreement over funding. The opposition Partido Popular is demanding that Barcelo resigns claiming that the minister does not have the necessary funds for tourism promotion. Barcelo has sought to limit the damage from the two shock resignations claiming that 2010 had been a very difficult year for her department as a result of a “black-hole” in the department´s budget.

However, she claimed that she had 45 million euros available for promotion, but the Partido Popular claim that the figure is far lower. The political spat comes as the Balearic government trying to champion the recovery in the tourist industry promising a good season this year. Barcelo, who is the fourth person to hold the job in as many years, has dismissed calls for her resignation and has blamed the Partido Popular for overspending when they were in power at the local ministry for tourism. The amount of money the local ministry for tourism spends on promotion has always been in the spotlight because the industry believes that the figure should be far higher.