THE man in charge of promoting the Balearics tourist industry overseas, Juan Carlos Alía, resigned yesterday after being caught in a Moscow strip-club scandal.
Alia, as director of the government's tourism promotion wing Ibatur, was one of the high ranking members of Balearic government delegation, led by President Jaume Matas, to Moscow, coinciding with Real Mallorca's UEFA Cup match against Spartak Moscow last season.
However, Alia's apparent off duty activities have come to light after it has been revealed that, included in his expense receipts, were two receipts for one of Moscow's top strip clubs, The Rasputin.
Alia called a press conference yesterday to announce that he had handed in his resignation to Tourism Minister Juan Flaquer, who was also on the Moscow trip. He said he had not meant to hand in the Rasputin club receipts.
It was a genuine mistake, there were so many receipts and they were all written in Russian, he said in his defence.
He explained that after one of the official dinners, he and a group of seven friends, who were also guests at the official function, went for a drink at the strip club. He said that he could have easily covered the cost himself and had no intention of putting the receipts through Ibatur accounts as it was during our free time. Ibatur, the Balearic government and Calvia Council had organised a series of meetings with tour operators and travel agents to boost Russian tourism to the Balearics and also promote the Chess Olympics which Calvia is hosting.
Alia was quick to stress yesterday that neither the Minister for Tourism nor the Balearic president accompanied him to the strip club.
However he refused to give the names of the seven people in the group we must respect people's private lives and what they do in their free time, he said.
There were however one or two Russians in the group, as Alia claims it was they who recommended the Rasputin club. There, according to its website in English and Russian, a wide range of services and attractions are offered.
He said that he was extremely sorry for his mistake and urged that this scandal should not be allowed to overshadow the important work carried out by the Balearic delegation during the Moscow trip. We had some very positive meetings with tour operators, travel agents and the media, he said.