By Humphrey Carter
THIS year is going to be dedicated to getting the Balearic tourist industry back on its feet again, the President of the Balearics, Francesc Antich, told local and international tourism bosses at the Fitur International Tourism fair in Madrid yesterday.

Antich publicly called on all government departments to throw all of their energy into tourism and helping the industry improve and expand its services and facilities. “Tourism accounts for 60 percent of the Balearic economic activity, it is the foundation of the future and that is why it has to be a priority for everyone over the course of this year,” he said during a press conference as part of the Balearic Day celebrations at the Madrid trade fair.

The President said that ground work on reforming the Playa de Palma is already well under way and announced that a large part of some 200 million euros of state aid is going to be invested in the local tourism industry as a whole.

Antich used his visit to the travel show to not only hold talks with directors of leading German and British tour operators and travel firms, he also began approaching many of the main airlines in preparation for when the Balearics is given a say in how the regional airports are run. “Regional management of our airports is going to be a major breakthrough this year and we're already in negotiations with various airlines in an attempt to expand and increase flight connections with the rest of Europe,” Antich said.

But, the emphasis of yesterday's press briefing was not only Majorca but Ibiza and Minorca too.
Minorca has spent the past few days brokering two important deals with tour operators TUI and Thomas Cook and Antich yesterday unveiled a 30 million investment package to improve the Port of Ciutadella.

Over three million euros is also going to be spent on promoting Ibiza as a short break, weekend destination.


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