By Humphrey Carter
THE Balearics is taking an all-star team of national sporting heroes to Spain's most important tourism fair, FITUR, next week.
While struggling Real Mallorca may not quit fit in with the region's winning position as one of Europe's leading holiday destination's, each of the three main islands, Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza have called a sporting Spanish hero off the bench to give the region's promotional campaign an extra boost this year. Majorca's new roving ambassador, following in the footsteps of actor Michael Douglas and model Claudia Schiffer, is the island's very own world number two tennis player Rafael Nadal. Unable to play in the Australian Open due to his foot injury, he is able to attend FITUR in Madrid.
Minorca will be graced by the presence of Real Madrid and Spain captain Raul.
Although he is not Minorcan, he has owned a holiday home there for many years and spends every summer with his family on the “quiet” island.
Ibiza will be calling upon the services on one of Spain's “sporting personalities of the moment” the Olympic and long distance swimmer David Meca who last week became the first person to swim 110 kilometres from the mainland to the “party” island. Be is neither from Ibiza but has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the place and spends most of his summers on the island.
The FITUR travel trade fair will be opened by the King and Queen of Spain on January 25 - and the Majorcan tourism authorities are hoping to be able to have Rafael Nadal on the Majorcan stand for when the royals tour the fair. Ibiza and Minorca day will be on January 26 with the two islands, and their sporting ambassadors, competing for media and press attention.
Both Douglas and Schiffer have helped promote Majorca at FITUR but this will be the first time the three islands have enlisted the services of leading international sporting personalities. FITUR will this year be celebrating its 26th edition and is traditionally the first major travel trade fair of the international calendar.
Running from January 25 to 29, it is open to the public for the last two days, 11.500 companies are taking part this year and over 100.000 professionals will be attending as either exhibitors or visitors. Last year, on just the two days, 100.000 members of the general public flocked to the exhibition centre.


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