Pictures: S Amengual
MAYOR of Palma Catalina Cirer opened a new green zone in Arenal yesterday, on the site previously occupied by the former hotels Don Felipe and Calipso. It is an 800 square metre paved area on three levels with trees and flowers and has cost 237'000 euros.
The Mayor was accompanied by Balearic tourism minister Joan Flaquer, central government representative Ramón Socias, and the chairman of the Playa de Palma hoteliers association, Jordi Cabrer.
The green zone is part of the Balearic government's Plan for Excellence in Tourism, which involves demolishing obsolete hotels and ceding the land to the city council for green zones.
Flaquer said that this policy has shown that it is possible to renovate a mature tourist resort such as Playa de Palma and Arenal.
He added that the government will continue this policy until all its projects are completed.
The projects are financed by the regional and central governments and the city council, and Flaquer added that a consortium between the Balearic government and the central ministry of industry, tourism and commerce, is about to be formed, to promote this type of activity in the island.
He spoke of the need to renovate and improve tourist facilities which were old and no longer in demand, and to adapt products and prices to the current situation. Cirer said that this type of project is proof that it is possible to change the image of the resort, a priority for tourism in the city.
The Mayor and entourage also visited the new street lighting which has been installed in the stretch of Arenal between Camino de las Maravillas and Calle Diego Zaforteza, at a cost of 1.3 million euros.
A large part of this area has also been pedestrianised at a cost of nearly 600'000 euros, thanks to changes in traffic in the front line and second line.
The Playa de Palma is the longest of the beaches in the city and is one of the most popular resorts on the island.
It is also one of the oldest, and this is reflected in many of its hotels, bars, clubs and restaurants, a situation which the tourism ministry is trying to remedy with operations such as this one, which has led to the creation of a new green zone.