THE Balearic Ministries of Tourism, Health and Consumer Affairs, and Commerce, Industry and Energy will join forces from the next tourist season, to carry out inspections of all hotels on the islands offering all-inclusive deals. This is in order to ensure the hotels comply with all the requirements of this service and to guarantee quality. The inspections will not apply exclusively to all-inclusive hotels, they will also be carried out on other tourist places. So said the Balearic Minister of Tourism, Joan Flaquer, yesterday. The move comes after the government was criticised for its handling of the all-inclusive situation, in the wake of complaints from the bar and restaurant sector, who claim they are being forced out of business. Flaquer revealed details of the agreements reached by the Cabinet after studying the report by the Commission of Experts analysing the operation of this service. He was accompanied by Josep Aloy, director general of Tourist Planning.
Flaquer said the government accepted the recommendations of the experts and, in answer to the harsh criticisms about the report voiced by the PSIB-PSOE (the Balearic Socialist Party-Spanish Socialist Workers Party) spokesman for tourist affairs, Celesti Alomar, he said that he has seized on all-inclusive as a political stick to beat us with. Nevertheless, the Minister said that the Government also accepts the proposals contained in the Parliamentary motion laid down by the PSIB-PSOE in December, which the House approved unanimously, as they consider it very important that all-inclusive deals conform to agreed standards of quality. Flaquer announced that there is to be a certificate of quality specifically for all-inclusive hotels, while Aloy said that the inspections carried out to date had specifically looked for no alcoholic drinks being offered to minors and all-inclusive not being offered in apartments. In spite of the fact that the Minister of Tourism said all-inclusive deals should not be demonised, he said that there would be no reference to them in tourist promotions by Ibatur, the Balearic Institute of Tourism. However, there would be specific promotion of the bar and restaurant sector. Flaquer said his department is already working with PIMEM (the Small and Medium Sized Business Association) and Afedco (the Shopkeepers Association) to this end. Another important aspect in the strategy which the Balearic Government will adopt to integrate all-inclusive into the tourist industry is the approval of an amendment to the General Tourist Law which will mark and develop information which is offered to tourists and consumers to protect their interests. This will especially insist on information about the complaints procedure so that consumers can exercise their rights on the spot. The Government hope these guidelines will be ready by the first quarter of 2006, in time for the start of the season.
Flaquer said he considered that all-inclusive is a type of tourism which came at a moment of extreme weakness for the industry and which now, in fact, had reached it peak in the Balearics and was on the wane. He cited as proof the fact that 184 hotels had been offering this service at the start of the last tourist season but by the end of the same season there were just 168 all-inclusive hotels.
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