Palma.—Even department stores will be able to stay open on Sundays from March to October in Palma in order to maximise takings from tourists and weekend shoppers.

The formal announcement was made yesterday at the Consulat de Mar government offices in Palma after a meeting between the Balearic President, José Ramón Bauzà and the City's Mayor, Mateo Isern.

At the meeting, the central area of Palma between the Avenidas and the sea was declared a zone of particular interest meaning that the branch of Corté Inglés in Avenida Jaime III will have permission to open on Sundays, as will all the clothes shops clustered around Plaza Juan Carlos I, but the branch in the main Avenidas will not.

Smaller shops and businesses in central Palma already have the option of opening on Sundays and public holidays. The scheme is part of a wider project spearheaded by a new city “365” Foundation geared to promote all-year-round tourism in the city.

President Bauzà said yesterday that the Sunday opening programme comes in response to constant pleas from tour operators and tourists for shops to be open on public holidays, and to bring a new dynamic to Palma city centre which many people claim is “dead” outside the normal working week. Mayor Isern said that in tandem with businesses remaining open on public holidays, the City Council will also be arranging musical and cultural activities to complement shopping activity by residents and tourists. “Free parking at these times will be an added attraction,” said the Mayor. Bauzà defended the introduction of central Palma Sunday opening by saying that it is shops and businesses who must be the key players in getting the economy up and running again and who, in conjunction with local government, should be instrumental in creating employment. The President added that the move will also open up further possibilities for Palma to be considered as an excellent weekend city break destination all year round by both foreign and national tourists to compete with other European cities.

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