by Staff Reporter
JOSÉ Carlos Mauricio, the finance minister of the Canary Island government, defended a strategic alliance between the Balarics and the Canaries, to guarantee their leadership in tourism, and he stressed the need to reconvert obsolete facilities in both regions.

He was speaking at a congress in Majorca, under the heading “Balearics and Canary Islands in the face of new tourism challenges.” He called for the creation of committees to study joint action to overcome the crisis affecting the sector.
He said that the Balearics and Canaries should be studying how they will remain world leaders over the next few years, in which tourism will take on even greater importance in the international economy, while at the same time, the number of competitors will increase.

In his opinion, it is necessary for both archipelagoes to avoid “reacting too late, and losing opportunities which they now have because of their predominant position in the market.” Mauricio went on to say that although tourism is “a decisive sector” in the country's economy, there is a “political deficit” in management.

He would like to see a specific ministry to handle tourism affairs and a bigger budget assigned to promotion and marketing.
Joan Flaquer, the Balearic tourism chief, spoke of the “future potential” of “sun and sand” tourism which, he said, attracts 83.6 percent of visitors to the Balearics.

He added that 63 percent of tourists return which shows that “it is not a model which has run its course” and can still beat the offer of competitors.
He spoke of reconversion which went beyond simple modernisation or embellishment as a means of adapting the sector to the change of habits of consumers and the progressive concentration of tour operators. As an example, he quoted plans for the Playa de Palma and Arenal, and the plans which his department has designed “to complement and enrich” the offer and capture new clients.

Juan Herrera, the Canary tourism chief, said that both regions should improve marketing with the emphasis on history, and better training for staff. Future challenges, he said, are improving the environment and modernising the complementary offer.