Richard Branson.

Despite Richard Branson's on-going battle with local environmentalists over his plans to create the “most beautiful hotel in the world” at his Banyalbufar estate, the Virgin tycoon's faith in the Balearics as a quality holiday destination is as strong as ever. Virgin tour operator, Virgin Sun, which has just come to the close of its second summer season is to increase the number of its clients to Majorca and Minorca next summer by between 25 and 30 percent and Virgin Sun's operations manager in the Balearics, John Hunt, said yesterday that Minorca is Virgin Sun's most popular destination with some 26'000 Britons holidaying on the island with the company this summer. While Branson has been trying to push ahead with Banyalbufar, he has turned his attention to providing quality family tourism in Majorca and Minorca and next summer Virgin Sun will have two Club Virgin resorts operating in the Balearics. The Majorcan resort at Cala Domingos will provide 100 family apartments and services and facilities for the very youngest to children in their late teens. But the Club Virgin in Minorca will be three times the size with Confortel Son Parc, in Son Parc, offering 326 apartments and all the services from creche facilities to the Branson Pickles, Richard Rebels and during peak season the Club Scene for 12 to 16-year--olds. Branson's Virgin Sun philosophy is quality family holidays and Virgin's four flights per week to the islands will next summer solely carry Virgin Sun clients as Branson looks to expand his operations in the Balearics. Both projects have involved “heavy investments in a long term future,” John Hunt said yesterday.