Staff Reporter
THE Balearic Tourist ministry will have 1.55 million euros at its disposal this year to put its Plan for Quality in Tourism into action.
The money will go to improving services in different localities across the Islands, including bars, cafés and restaurants that provide a “complementary offer” to tourist establishments; as well as to hotels, pensions, hostels and apart-hotels. The project aims to make a noticeable difference in the quality of services provided in tourist areas by providing businesses with money to improve staff training or up-grade their businesses. Yesterday, Minister for Tourism, Joan Flaquer explained the key elements of the Plan. The regional government is providing 51 percent of the finance but the remainder is coming from European Union programmes (36 percent) and from European Union funding (13 percent). Flaquer confirmed that the prime targets of the Quality Plan promotion are the municipalities, where “parameters” of minimum quality in the services provided will be established. He pointed out that the 52 districts of the Balearics have already come to agreements with local government on what this quality level should be.

With regard to the “complementary offer” in services provided to tourists, furthered the minister, the Plan will determine criteria of quality levels to be provided by restaurants, travel agents, golf courses, leisure installations, etc. He pointed out that the restaurant associations on the Islands also had an agreement with the ministry whereby they are allowed to invest funds in the improvement of their businesses through the use of low interest loans.

With regard to tourist establishments, the Quality Plan will pay special attention to the definition of the “sectors” to be marked out for investment. The minister explained this was because “the way we decide to develop the tourist industry now, will mark it out for the future”. He emphasized that the process of defining how the sectors should be divided up will be done with the consensus support of the businesses and institutions who will be affected by the Plan.

Manuel Hernández, director of the Institute for Quality in Tourism, specified that the setting up of this project doesn't mean that the Balearics is offering an “under par” product at the moment; rather to the contrary, “it's about our making an effort to make even better that which is already good”.

Hernández highlighted the fact that the finalisation of the Quality Plan is the result of “150 meetings” with local government representatives and business organisations.

The Plan includes a section of “star products” which will receive special promotional attention, such as golf, trekking and cycle tours, and quality “gastronomy trails”. Hernández insisted that “the finest quality systems” are already in place in tourist hotels and apartments on the archipelago, but indicated that the certificate award system which will be created through the introduction of the Plan will be easily accessible to all those establishments which are as yet without it.


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