THE Balearic ministry for tourism will spend 13 million euros on promoting the Balearics next year, and is negotiating agreements for joint campaigns with tour operators and Turespaña, the Spanish tourism promotion board, which will mean additional funding of some 7 million euros. Joan Flaquer, head of the ministry, announced details at the presentation of a domestic publicity campaign, launched to raise public awareness in the Baleares about the importance of tourism in terms of the Islands' economic performance. The ministry believes it is crucial that visitors are made to feel welcome. Flaquer recalled that the budget for tourist promotion for 2003, approved by the previous coalition government ran to 8 million euros. He went on to clarify that the 13 million euros set aside for next year do not include the funds that will be allocated to developing sporting activities, such as the cycling team. And neither, insisted the minister, will the budget pay for the 6 million euro deficit with which the ministry is currently burdened. Regarding joint promotion to be planned with tour operators in the key client markets (United Kingdom, Germany and Spain), Flaquer indicated that 50 percent of the campaign costs will be covered by the tour operators. Similarly, an agreement with Turespaña is also in the offing, which will make them responsible for another 25% of total financial responsibility for these campaigns. As an example, Flaquer pointed out that an agreement had already been reached with a German tour operator to develop a campaign valued at 2 million euros. Strategy would involve not only straightforward publicity but also the targetting of travel agents and specialized media. With regard to the domestic campaign focussing on the Balearics which began yesterday, Flaquer said that his department would be the first to be interested in not having to launch it, but he considerd it necessary to ensure that Balearic citizens were always aware of the fact that tourism is the principal source of income in the Islands. He insisted that in order to compensate for the damage done to the image of tourism by the previous Socialist government, an attempt will be made to make people in the Balearics understand that good naturedness and hospitality are the best strategy to make visitors want to return for repeat holidays. Anti-foreigner graffiti could hardly be considered welcoming. The director of the Balearic Institute for Tourism (Ibatur), Juan Carlos Alía, reported that 75 hoardings had been set up in the Balearics yesterday, (50 on Majorca, 13 on Ibiza, 10 on Minorca and 2 on Formentera) containing publicity with messages portraying a tourist, a friend, a slogan used by Palma City Council in a campaign some 10 years ago. With a budget of 60'000 euros, the educational drive will be relaunched every 15 days over a period of six weeks and will use Press announcements as a finishing touch. The tourism minister reported that, in collaboration with the ministry of Education, his department is working on the presentation of a project entitled education resources in order to transmit a similar message to school children of the Islands.
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