News Desk MICHAEL Douglas will tomorrow be flying the flag for the Balearics at the Fitur Tourism Fair in Madrid. Douglas is a “goodwill ambassador” for the islands.

His presence at this tourism event will help promote, on a national as well as on an international level, the new “green card,” a new environmental policy being championed by the Balearic government. Tourists will be encouraged to buy the card which will give them free access to a number of parks on the island. The money which is raised from its sale will be channelled back into environmental projects.

Douglas' attendance will also help to promote the 100th anniversary of the Majorca Tourism Board.
The local ministry for tourism wants to consolidate at Fitur, the Balearics position as the leading holiday destination in Spain. Ministry of tourism officials will be holding talking with a number of Spanish tour operators and travel agents. The International Tourism and Travel Fair is officially opened today by the Duke and Duchess of Lugo at the Juan Carlos I exhibition centre in Madrid.

The local ministry of tourism will be looking to unveil a number of projects and proposals at Fitur, including the “Green Card.” The presence of Michael Douglas should give the islands an added edge over competing destinations on the mainland. The Balearic Tourism Department will be presenting cultural calendars, bicycle tours, as well as presenting shows to commemerate the tenth anniversary of the Hotel Industry School.

This year the Travel and Tourism show will be celebrating it's 25th anniversary and it has never before had so many different shows and presentations by different trade groups, sponsors and even the Balearic Government.

Fitur 2005 has been classified as the second most important Travel and Trade Fair in the world and the first most important in the South American environment.

This year, 170 countries are taking part in the show, as well as 799 exhibitors, which is 6 percent more than last year. The total square footage used this year is 83'161 metres, which represents a 4.58 percent increase on the previous year. Of the 11'516 business attending the show, 1'565 are showing at “Fitur Activo” tent, 241 at “Fitur Know How”, 89 at “Fitur Residencial” and 151 at “Fitur Congreso”.

The official opening will begin at 11.30 in the Madrid Fair Auditorium, IFEMA, where they will hold a minute's silence for the victims of the tsunami that happened on 26 December in SouthEast Asia.

Also, on Thursday, there will be another minute's silence throughout the fair.
The President of the Fitur Organising Committee and President of Iberia, Fernando Conte, mentioned during a press conference that the seven asiatic countries hit by the tsunami, have managed to attend the show; India, Indonesia, Malasia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand.