STAFF REPORTER

MADRID
WITH sixty-five percent of the workforce in the Balearics employed in the tourism industry, it came as good news yesterday that central government is to spend 50 million euros next year on making all-year-round tourism a reality.

Tourism secretary Amparo Fernandez said yesterday at Senate committee meeting on Industry and Commerce: “Some 46 percent of foreign tourists come to Spain during the summer months. It's very important to take steps to lengthen the tourist season because the economic and social impact will be beneficial for employment and will make use of both public and privately-owned infrastructure. “Horizon 2020” is the title of the plan committed to the promotion and development of touristic activity. It stipulates however that whilst aimed at creating all-year-round tourism in Spain, “Horizon 2020” will only operate within the limits of sustainable growth. It could include no activity which damaged the environment, which resulted in an excessive amount of carbon emissions or which impacted negatively on social or cultural aspects of Spanish society.

Fernandez said that of the 320 million euros which are budgeted for “Horizon 2020,” nearly 50 million will be used specifically to cultivate all-year-round tourism. In order to achieve this objective, the Secretary said that it is important to have consensus from tourist industry chiefs, hotel federations, and unions. “We need to know what client demands are and foster our touristic products on that basis,” Fernandez suggested.

Because of the central government grant, she continued, 2008 is going to be an important year in which to look at what natural resources the country has, what cultural and gastronomic attractions there are at holiday destinations within its borders, and in which way to build on this potential so that there is plenty of activity away from the summer months. The Spanish Senate (Parliament) had already approved in October this year the implementation of a programme aimed at creating all-year-round tourism. Committee president Xavier Albistur said that holiday destinations in Spain have a number of problems in common. It is hoped that “Horizon 2020” will offer some common solutions.

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