Staff reporter
THE ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) Convention to be held in Palma at the end of October, is to receive financial backing from key Balearic institutions. Representatives from the Balearic government, the Council of Majorca, the Chamber of Commerce of Majorca, Ibiza and Formentera, and Turespaña agreed yesterday to provide more than one million euros for the event. The convention has been held on Majorca every ten years for the past four decades and will open on 30 October and end on 3 November. Some 2'000 travel experts are expected to attend. The director of Turespaña, Javier Piñanes, following the meeting which saw the signing of the funding agreement, said it would boost Majorca as a holiday destination in the United Kingdom. Collaboration is also expected from Palma city council, Calviá and Llucmajor town councils as well as the Sol Meliá hotel group. Piñanes appeared before journalists accompanied by the Balearic Tourist minister, Joan Flaquer; the president of the Chamber of Commerce, Miquel Lladó; Council of Majorca spokesman Ferran Trujillo; and the president of the Majorcan Tourist Board, Miquel Vicens. The Tourist Board, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is responsible for organising the ABTA Convention activity programme.
In total, the Balearic government will provide 700'000 euros; Turespaña 250'000; the Council of Majorca 60'000; and the Chamber of Commerce, another 60'000. All involved were confident that the fact that the ABTA Convention is being held in Palma will contribute to a “revitalisation” of British tourism in the region. Vicens confirmed that on previous occasions the year after the Convention had come to Palma, specifically 1974, 1984 and 1994, “had been excellent events” in terms of boosting British tourism on the Islands. The Tourist minister, Joan Flaquer, appeared confident that the additional promotion implied by the Convention will serve to counteract the negative effect on tourism that the Pound Sterling/Euro exchange rate could be having. Separately, Flaquer and the heads of the Chamber of Commerce and the Majorcan Tourist Board, signed another agreement for the modernisation of the international Press centre, to which they will jointly contribute 28'800 euros. According to Flaquer, this service will provide favourable promotional news about the Balearics and will ensure that such news arrives at critical media points of the Balearics' principal client markets. Vicens called to mind that this centre is of key importance to international journalism, pointing to a recent article published in the prestigious British newspaper, The Times which heralded the conversion of Majorca into a “high quality” holiday destination. The Press centre has access to a computerised photographic library network, news agency reports and links with key information sources on the Islands.

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