Staff Reporter
BETWEEN now and the end of the year, Palma City Council and the municipality's various hotel associations, will spend 24'000 euros on campaigns promoting tourism, sports and culture in the capital, at Fairs and Promotional events both in and out of the country.

The funds were included in the agreement signed yesterday by the mayor's deputy in Tourism and Overseas promotion, Francisca Bennássar; the president of the Playa de Palma Hotel Association, Jordi Cabrer; Francisco Garcí, head of the Cala Major-Sant Agustí Association; and Bartolomé Casasnovas of the Palma Hoteliers' Association.

Bennássar explained: “It's the first time that we have signed an agreement aiming to unite forces to make the industry promotion more effective. Our drive to seasonally “open up” the tourist industry will go hand-in-hand with promoting the sporting and cultural attractions of the city of Palma”. She was keen for such collaboration to continue.

The mayor's deputy announced that one of the actions on the City Council and Hoteliers' Associations joint agenda, will be the organisation this coming November of four events promoting the Balearic capital. They will take place in Bilbao, San Sebastián, Santander and Oviedo.

At these presentations, she went on, it is not only the image of Palma as a haven of “sun, sea and sand” which will be promoted, but also the city's cultural wealth, the shopping and business opportunities, as well as its fine healthcare services, and the possibilities it offers for sporting alternatives.

The City Council has other plans on the table for advertising and promoting Palma's image. They include the organisation of an event in Switzerland at the end of October and the production of an interactive DVD in collaboration with the Balearic Institute for Tourism (Ibatur), where viewers will be given a generalised overview of the city as well as more specific views of what the city has to offer: “Palma for sun, sea and sand” (vacational); “Palma, a centre of culture”; “Palma, a city of sports and sailing” where golf, hiking and cycling tours provide alternatives to “traditional” forms of tourism; and “Palma, a centre for business”.

Additionally, Bennásar said that there are plans to create a new organisation called The Municipal Institute for Tourism, and for Tourist Information Offices to remain open all weekend.

This type of campaign, she said, aims to “break the traditional 6-month stretch” of the tourist season, and to get the tourist industry up and running all-year-round. She also reported that the City Council is preparing a project entitled “Palma, a city open all the year” which will boost the “complementary offer” to the tourist industry in the capital, of bars, cafés and restaurants.

Casasnovas highlighted the need to establish Palma as a tourist destination open for business 365 days of the year” and advocated freeing up the trading hours of businesses and opening times of galleries and museums to suit the needs of visitors.

Cabrer valued the agremeent reached with the City Council and the hotel associations, although he asked that, next year, more funds should be made available to help the tourist industry in Palma function 12 months of the year.

He argued, what we have to do is get more people coming to Palma in times which we have traditionally referred to as low season. In high season, we already have plenty of visitors”.

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