TOURIST industry promotion campaigns planned by the Balearic government in 2004, will focus on increasing the impact of the presence of the Balearics at international travel fairs. The Ministry of Tourism aims to achieve this through the installation of larger sales stands which attract more attention, as well as entertainment in the collaboration of well-known personalities. Joan Flaquer, Tourist minister, was speaking at a presentation of these proposals yesterday. The minister pointed out that the regional government is allocating 13 million euros this year to tourism promotion in the Balearics, 5 million more than last year and the largest sum ever set aside for industrial support by the Balearic Administration. As its fundamental objectives, the campaign intends to recuperate the front-running image that the Balearics previously enjoyed overseas. The ministry is also keen to, yet again, establish the Islands as a top holiday destination, a leading position that has been lost over the last few years. Similarly, it is anxious to consolidate the position of the Balearics in traditional tourist markets (Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom), and to introduce the Islands to new client markets such as countries in Eastern and Central Europe which will soon be forming part of the European Union. In order to accomplish this, the Ministry will be giving priority attention to the presence of the Balearics in the target markets by ensuring a strong presence of a Balearic team at international travel fairs, an agenda which will be supported by some three million euros of government funding. The plan envisages attendance at 52 fairs to be held in 21 countries, principally tourist markets, but also specialised ones. At the major holiday travel markets, the Balearic government will, for the first time, make a competitive bid to increase the space that it occupies at such exhibitions. At the World Travel Market in London, for example, the Tourist ministry team are working on having their space increased by 200 square metres. The minister also pointed to the presence of well-known personalities from the world of sport, culture and entertainment who will be supporting the Balearics at different travel market locations outside Spain. The American actor and film producer, Michael Douglas, has signed an agreement with the Balearic government to attend 12 promotional exhibitions over the next few years. Flaquer gave prominence to the fact that throughout 2004, the Islands are to play host to some major events such as the Convention of Spanish travel agencies in October, and the German Travel Agents' Congress at the end of November. They will also be the centre for the Chess Olympics to be held in Calvia in autumn this year and an International Marathon in Palma.
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