By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
A pioneering meeting between representatives from the leading European tour operators working on the ground here in Majorca and the Balearic government and Ministry for Tourism was held at the British Consulate in Palma yesterday.

The round table discussion was one of the many ideas the British Consul Paul Abrey and the President of the Balearics, Francesc Antich, came up with during a meeting between the two back in January and yesterday Abrey chaired the meting which was also attended by the Director General of Ibatur, the Ministry for Tourism's promotional wing, Susanna Sciacovelli, who will be reporting back to Antich and the Tourism Minister, Francesc Buils.

Majorca bosses from the main tour operators Thomas Cook, TUI, TravelCity Direct and Ocean Cruises attended the meeting as did Andrew Clemence, the Chief Executive of the events organiser Globo Rojo/OneMallorca and Pirates.

Abrey, who facilitated the inaugural meeting in response to Antich's enthusiasm about the new think tank being formed, said yesterday afternoon that the meeting was “extremely positive and that the perimeters have been laid for a much closer level of cooperation between the local authorities and representatives from the main tour operators working on the ground here in Majorca.” The three key topics on the agenda were the current situation of the tourism market and the changing habits and requirements of holiday makers, the feedback tour operators are getting from their customers about Majorca and how those around the table can combine forces, know-how and expertise in improving the marketing and promoting of Majorca as a holiday destination in the key satellite markets. While all those attending were from the British arms of the main tour firms, the focus was very much on how Majorca can be sold more effectively abroad. “What was made quite clear and a point everyone agreed on is that Majorca already has much more than sea and sand to offer its visitors but the message is not quite getting across,” said Abrey. “So, pushing Majorca ahead as a multi attraction and multi-activity destination is going to be a key area in which the government and the tour operators will be working. “Obviously, there were a few areas of complaint, mainly arising from customer feedback but all of the input was taken on board by Susanna Sciacovelli who was the first to invite all those at the meeting to get more involved with Ibatur and the Ministry for Tourism's new drive to rebrand, repackage and sell Majorca,” Abrey said. “Sciacovelli explained to the meeting that Ibatur has already devised a series of new products such as cultural tourism, golf, winter tourism and weekend breaks etc and she is interested to hear from the tour operators working with their clients on the ground how these products can best be marketed. “The government wants the tour operators to be part of the new marketing focus,” added Abrey.
The group will meet again in September, at the end of the holiday season which, according to those in attendance yesterday, should perform just as well as last year, in order to analyse how the summer performed and to look ahead to the winter season and how the struggling market can be boosted.

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