CAMPAIGNING for the May general elections in Spain is well underway and yesterday the Secretary of State for the Economy, Luis de Guindos, met captains of the Balearic tourist industry in Palma to spell out the conservative Partido Popular's tourism manifesto.

In short, the PP, if re-elected to power, will aim to significantly increase the level of quality provided by the tourist industry while helping destinations, such as the Balearics, develop and a year-round holiday industry.

Luis de Guindos said that the final set of tourism figures for 2003, including the three per cent increase in visitors, indicate “the worst is over.” The Secretary of State pointed out that, especially with regards to the German market, as the country's troubled economy started to slowly recover as the year developed, so too did summer holidays sales. As far as the British market is concerned, the Secretary of State said its healthy economy and strong pound will lead to another year of growth in the holiday market.

He said that the PP is fully aware of just how important tourism is to the Spanish economy and society is intends to continue doing all it can, as a government, to help the industry. “Tourism is one of the foundation stones of the economy,” he said “and therefore a key concern for us as a party and a government.”

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