THE number of tourists who visited the Islands between January and September this year, reached the 10 million mark.
Facts were confirmed in Parliament yesterday by Balearic minister for Tourism, Joan Flaquer who said that the figure reflects an increase of 1.8 percent in respect of 2003 and of 17.3 percent over and above 2002.
The minister was responding to a call by the Socialist Opposition for a review of the present regional government policy on tourism.
Deputy leader for the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and ex Tourism minister, Celesti Alomar, spoke during the debate of his concern for the loss of profitability experienced by hotel companies on the Islands, the fall in the number of permanent contracts given to hotel workers, and forecasts for the coming year which point to a decrease of 10 percent in hotel bookings made through tour operators.
Meanwhile, Javier Yaniz, European Ecology director, urged the tourist sector in general yesterday, and hoteliers in particular, to subscribe to a new European Commission certificate. The qualification signals that a hotel establishment maintains approved environmental standards in terms of products and services.
Yaniz, who is in Palma to persuade Balearic businesses about the advantages of marketing under this conservationist name tag, purported that the Ecology certificate will be fundamental to the tourist sector in the future, although at present, only 15 European hotels are subscribed.
Yaniz explained that for a hotel to secure the award, an analysis is undertaken of how the environment is affected per single overnight stay at the establishement in terms of power and water consumption, rubbish production, etcetera. Notice will be taken of what efforts a hotel makes to conserve energy and essential resources, he said.