The Balearic minister for tourism, Biel Barceló, put the record straight yesterday when he said that tourists would always be welcomed to these shores, firing a shot across the bows of certain sections of the British media who have tried to portray the island as being "tourist unfriendly".

Barceló, speaking in an interview with the Bulletin which will be published tomorrow, said that tourism was the lifeblood of this island and said that his department was working long and hard to make Majorca a better place so that it could be enjoyed by all. He said that they were working to lengthen the holiday season so that the island could welcome more tourists during the winter period.

The protest march through the streets of Palma against the "massification of tourism" made banner headlines across the British and German media even though it was only attended by fewer than 3,000 people and the march had a more environmental theme than anti-tourism. Barceló did admit that there was a concern that years of tourism development were starting to take a toll on the island and this was one of the reasons why they had introduced the tourist tax so that they could repair some of the damage.

He underlined the fact that the island was on course for another great season next year and said that they felt that the rise in the tourist tax would have little effect. In fact they have only received a handful of complaints since the levy was introduced.