STAFF REPORTER
THE Balearic Tourism Agency (ATB) said yesterday that a third of its spend this year (33 percent) is to go on investment in Minorca and on agreements signed last year with Majorcan town councils run by the Majorca Unionist (UM) party.

The ATB is an organisation created in the middle of last year, replacing the work previously undertaken by the now defunct Balearic Institute for Tourism (Ibatur) and a separate body “Inestur.” Amongst the town councils on Majorca run by the UM which had signed investment agreements with the regional government last year are Porreres, Pollensa, Campos (now ruled by a Socialist coalition) and Alcudia.

The overall spend by the ATB for this year stands at 22 million euros. A third of this is already committed through last year's agreements signed with the UM local councils and to projects being undertaken in Minorca.

Last year, the ATB had a budget of 32.8 million but when the 2010 budget was rolled over into this year due to of lack of parliamentary consensus on a new set of figures, the sum was reduced to 22 million. Of this new figure, UM run councils on Majorca will receive 3.15 million euros.

However, on Minorca, thanks to a number of agreements signed with British and German tour operators, amongst them Thomas Cook, REWE, Cosmos-Monarch and TUI-UK, the ATB has assigned 1.7 million euros.

Projects include opening up the accessibility of Minorca to different areas of the key client countries as opposed to just the principal airports. The move is hoped to stem what has been perceived as a receding tide of British and German visitors.

Another 3.1 million will go to the reform of the Pati de Sa Lluna, the cloisters of a Franciscan monastery on the outskirts of Alaior, completed in the 17th century.

Classed as an item of cultural heritage, it was acquired by the regional government in 2005. Tourism Minister Joana Barcelo said last month that the reform project will galvanise the local economy and create jobs.

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