THE Balearic government has devised a new way of raising extra funds, from visitors, for the protection and management of the environment.
The new Green Card will be officially presented at the FITUR travel trade fair in Madrid and shortly after, an estimated half a million Green cards will be made available to holidaymakers.
As yet, the final price of the Green Cards has yet to be decided but it could be as little as five euros or as high as 20.
However, the basic function of the card has been agreed.
The cards will either be bought by the tour operators and then included in the price of a package holiday or offered separately by hoteliers and local handling agents to their clients for purchase on arrival at their resort hotel in the Balearics.
The Green cards will not only be available for package holidaymakers but also the independent market.
The idea is that the card will provide access to five stately homes and nature reserves in Majorca, such as the Albufera Natural Park in the north east of the island between the resorts of Alcudia and C'an Picafort. Tourism ministry sources in Palma have also revealed that the Green card will also cover entrance to the C'an Marroig estate on the island of Formentera.
The Green Card has been described as a new tourist or eco tax.
The present conservative Partido Popular government in the Balearics was never opposed to the aims of the scrapped tourist tax, merely the way in which the previous socialist government decided to charge it.
Few people disagree with the idea of raising extra funds for the protection and management of the environment, only when everybody pays.
Or rather, in the case of the Green card, each person who purchases a card to visit the parks and homes included in the scheme will be helping to contribute to their upkeep and management.
What is more, the Green Card scheme is voluntary. If a holidaymaker does not want it, he or she does not have to pay for it.
Most tour operators have already been briefed on the scheme in order to include the cards in their forthcoming brochures. However the Balearic Ministry for Tourism is expected to raise the issue with UK operators during the World Travel Market in London next month to explain the Green card scheme further.