STAFF REPORTER HOLLYWOOD star Michael Douglas yesterday gave his full support to the Balearic government's new environmental policies at the Fitur tourism trade fair in Madrid, where he is promoting the islands in his role as Balearic promotional ambassador.

He said that he was proud of the steps the Balearic tourist industry was taking to ensure that the islands' scenic countryside and environment was always protected.

Accompanied by the leader of the Balearic Government, Jaume Matas, the American actor visited the Balearic stand at Fitur where he was greeted by hundreds of people, with his presence at the fair having the desired effect; Fitur was buzzing with talk about Douglas and the Balearics.

The Hollywood star said that he felt honoured to play a part in promoting the islands and he noted that he visited Spain for the very first time thirty years ago. He went on to joke that currently the Balearic Islands not only offer weather for the sun and beach worshippers, but also for those that love the snow, in reference to the unseasonal weather the islands are enjoying at the moment.

He said that he decided to buy a home in Majorca because people respect and protect the environment, nature and culture.
He also said that he felt “full of pride” because so many tourists as well as Majorcan residents were conscious of the fact that they need to protect the environment and nature of the islands.

Furthermore, he mentioned his admiration not only for Majorca, but also for Minorca and its biosphere nature reserve, for Ibiza as the heritage of mankind, and for the “beautiful beaches” in Formentera.

He said that he was “excited about” the creation of the Foundation for Sustainable Development (the local government's key environmental policy) and even more excited about the fact that Valldemosa (the region in which he lives) was chosen as the official headquarters of the foundation.

He concluded his speech by congratulating the general work that has been carried out by the local ministry for tourism.
In the late 1990s, Michael Douglas created the Costa Nord cultural centre in Valldemosa, an initiative that helped to protect the environment and culture, and a place for tourists to be able to explore the Tramuntana mountains in Majorca. The Balearic Government bought Costa Nord in November 2003.

After the actor's speech, there was a live link direct to Majorca, which at that time was -3 degrees with plenty of snow. During this link the main functions of the new Foundation were highlighted, along with the new “Green Card.” This card, which will be on sale, will allow tourists to visit various parks on the islands free of charge. All money raised will be channelled into environmental projects. It will be available for the tourists and residents to buy from April this year.

Matas announced that for every card sold one euro would be donated to the Tsumani Appeal Fund. Matas said that this euro “will help to build a fund which will go towards the reconstruction costs of those areas destroyed by the recent disaster”.

The President of the Balearic Government thanked Michael Douglas for his support of the tourism on the islands, and then mentioned some of the fundamental projects that have been developed, like the Green Card.

Later Jaume Matas explained that the American actor was “surprised” by how “professional” the live link to Valldemosa was carried out.
Matas felt that the actor's presence at the fair, Fitur, was “a complete and total success”.
He highlighted how accommodating Michael Douglas was, even when there were crowds gathering around him. The actor always remained “attentive and approachable,” he said.

The Fitur fair, the biggest in Spain, ends this weekend.