Staff Reporter HIS Excellency, Georg Boomgaarden, German ambassador to Spain, claimed yesterday in Palma that ”hardly anyone in Germany remembers” the “upset there was a while ago” regarding the impression that German tourists were no longer welcome in the Balearics.

Boomgaarden was speaking after being formally received by the president of the Balearic government, Jaume Matas. The ambassador said after the meeting that he had assured Matas that “the image of the Balearics in Germany is very good at the moment”.

In Boomgaarden's view, the feeling that German visitors were not wanted on the Islands was not so much due to the imposition of the so-called Tourist tax, but rather to interpretation of German newspaper reports.

The diplomat signalled that he had also spoken with the Balearic leader over the possibilities of restructuring the tourist market in the Islands. “There are people who want nothing else but sun, sea and sand; but there is also a very significant group which is more interested in a cultural agenda, in sporting and health programmes. An offer including plenty of alternatives, adapted to the demands of the young, is very important, and I have the feeling that the Balearics is going to achieve it”, commented His Excellency.

He went on to describe the meeting he had with Matas as “very friendly”. The Balearic leader was accompanied on the occasion by the German Honorary Consuls on Minorca (Matthias Roters), and on Ibiza (Ekkehard Boxberger); and by Karin Killer the Balearic consul.

The ambassador also reported that he addressed Matas on the issue of the current economic situation in Germany, purportedly in crisis, and the repercussions that these circumstances may have on tourism in the Balearics. “The interest in strengthening ties is very clear” added Boomgaarden, who signalled that there are approximately 60'000 Germans residing on Majorca.