By Humphrey Carter THE Balearic Minister for Tourism hopes that the near one million pounds the local authorities invested in helping to host the ABTA convention have been well spent and leads to a marked improvement in summer 2004 Balearic holiday sales in the UK. Flaquer and his team will be launching phase two of the assault on the UK holiday market next week when they attend the Word Travel Market in London. Flaquer told Parliament past records show that, in the wake of the three previous Association of British Travel Agents conventions in Palma in 1973, '83 and '93, there have been significant increases in Balearic holiday bookings. But it is not going to be easy. While the ABTA event was a great success in Majorca, ABTA chiefs and tour operators made it clear to the Balearics' tourist industry that, if it wants to compete and grow, it has to reduce its prices, start offering much better value for money and offer new products and things for visitors to do. Flaquer announced yesterday, as part of the drive to offer better value for money, the Ministry for Tourism will be launching a crackdown on “illegal” holiday accommodation. It was revealed this week that in 2002, nearly 25 percent of visitors to the Balearics stayed in non-registered “illegal” self-catering and hotel accommodation. Of the 86 million bed nights spent in the Balearics last year, 20 million were spent in illegal accommodation. The figures, revealed in the latest report produced by the Chambers of Commerce for Majorca, Ibiza and Formentera however point out that the year-on-year increase in the illegal accommodation sector is on the decline. While advocating that further steps need to be taken to crackdown on the “black market,” the Chambers of Commerce report concludes that, based on last year's performace, the tourist industry has a “promising future, providing it is based on providing value for money and not price wars.” Balearic University professor of Economics, Onofre Martorell, who directed the study, said that, after the past few years of uncertainty and instability in the industry, the Balearics need to start offering new products and attractions to complement the sun and beach market. He suggests that areas of growth include golf, sailing, cycling, the over 50*s and the convention sector. Flaquer said yesterday that in London next week, he will use the World Travel Market to discuss the present condition of the market with regards to the Balearics and how tour operators see the summer shaping up. He said that while certain destinations can compete on price, the Balearics has to compete on quality and that is a message he intends to transmit. Flaquer and the Balearic delegation will be helped by the presence of Michael Douglas. The Balearic president Jaume Matas is expected to officially sign up the services of Michael Douglas to help promote the region on Wednesday at the World Travel Market. The Balearics will also arrive in London boosted by the announcement that central government is to help promote the region in the UK and Ireland to the sum of 1.054.000 euros with a similar figure being invested in a promotional campaign in Germany. Spain, as a tourist destination, will be spending a total of 4.660.938 euros on promoting the country's various tourist destinations in the UK and Ireland, the country's most valued market. New campaigns are also going to be launched in Germany, France, Italy, Portugal and the United States. Spain will be launching a one million pound promotional campaign in the USA.