STAFF REPORTER
PALMA

THE so-called Green Card is to be reintroduced this year amongst residents as well as tourists in the Balearics in order for environmental protection group The Balearic Foundation for Sustainability (FBS) to increase its income.

The card is not new. It was first introduced in the Balearics in 2005 by the government of ex Partido Popular President, Jaume Matas.
The government made the move after having repealed the eco-tax introduced by the previous Socialist government in 2003. The tax was one which tourists had to pay (a euro per person per day) during their visits to the Islands, but many visitors - particularly families with children - arrived in the Balearics unaware of the extra cost.

Matas' government (and the hotel industry) had believed the tax was damaging tourism, the life blood of the Balearics and substituted it with the Green Card.

The purchase of the card would provide visitors with discount access to holiday attractions with a percentage of the proceeds going to the FBS to support environmental protection projects.

Jordi Cabrer, FBS Director and head of the Green Card programme, said yesterday that the creation of the card in 2005 was “a good idea, but with the passing of time, it is clear that the scheme needs a good marketing overhaul to encourage both residents and tourists to make use of it.” “This year,” he said, “the FBS is going to engage with local businesses and make sure that people are fully aware of just what the card entitles them to.” “Our aim is to double the current card holdership in the Islands which currently stands at 30'000, and with continued promotion to encourage retailers and services to invest as well.”

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