THE controversial tourist tax, launched 11 months ago, has proved so successfull, that the Balearic government is having to launch another domestic publicity campaign this morning to explain the initiative and the regional administration's equally contentious tourism policies to the Balearic population. Tourism Minister Celesti Alomar unveiled the 277.000 euro publicity campaign yesterday.
Under the slogan “Enamorats de les nostres illes” (In love with our islands,) the aim is to ensure the public or electorate, understand the tourist tax and what is being done with the money, most of which has not come from Balearic residents but hotel and registered accommodation guests. Alomar proclaimed yesterday that the tourist tax has “opened an important social debate on tourism and the wealth it generates,” and the new campaign has been designed to “transmit a positive image of the tourist industry and publicise the sustainable policies” the government has and is introducing. The Minister said yesterday that the campaign's start date has been tabled for today “so not to coincide” with the electoral campaign and will feature a media blitz as well as billboards and some 800 adverts being posted on public telephone cabins. However, tourists, the bulk of those taxed, have not been completely ignored by this latest public relations exercise. Nearly half a million pamphlets in Catalan, Castellano, English and German have been published explaining how 17'25 million euros of tourist tax takings has already been used to fund 72 projects and the leaflets will be handed out at Balearic airports. Alomar believes that the campaign will increase the Balearic population's awareness to what is being done by the government to protect and conserve the environment while developing a new sustainable model for tourism which in the long run, the authorities believe, will benefit the Balearics. Despite recent calls by Europe's leading tour operators for the tax to be either repealed for the duration of the present global crisis, or scrapped, Alomar said yesterday that overseas tourist tax campaigns are no longer necessary, “our overseas image is positive and the tourist tax has been accepted,” the Minister claimed.

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