By Humphrey Carter
THE Balearic government has started work on a new blue-print for a low-season tourism revolution and Tourism Minister Joan Flaquer said yesterday it should be ready within the next two months. The government and ministry for tourism's primary aim is, to once and for all, take the emphasis off the summer season and develop a year-round tourism industry. Over the past few years, because of the slump in Balearic tourism, the summer season has become shorter and shorter, which is not good for the industry, the economy and employment. Flaquer believes that the government has to strike quickly and at the very heart of the Balearic tourist industry.
The minister explained yesterday that the main thrust of the blue-print will be direct investment into the region's main resort areas and municipalities. Preferring not to reveal where the funding would come from, Flaquer said that the money is going to be spent on new and improving existing infrastructure and the development and construction of new “active tourism” facilities and centres. He would also like to see the new convention and conference centre project fast-tracked through the system and given the green light as quickly as possible so work can get underway. The minister said that his team, which has been studying and examining similar projects already in place in various parts of Europe, hopes to have the final draft proposal ready by the end of next month, with local councils, the Balearic government and the central administration in Madrid financially involved in the scheme to revive offseason tourism. Flaquer said that the 200-million euro Playa de Palma project is a great start to a general Balearic face-lift, but he said that the government wants to involve all the main resorts in creating a tourism industry open 365-days of the year. This winter more hotels than ever have closed their doors until the Spring, despite airport passenger figures being higher than last year.

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