By Humphrey Carter

THE global tourist industry celebrated Balearic day at the Fitur travel trade fair in Madrid yesterday and the Balearic Minister for Tourism, Miguel Nadal, said that he is confident that the region will buck the downturn this year, just like it did in 2008.

Nadal revealed that the Balearics was visited by 13.1 million tourists last year, despite all the initial indications of trouble for the holiday industry at the start of the year.

For the past two consecutive years, the total number of visitors has breached the 13 million mark and Nadal, while not wanting to put a figure on this year, said that he is confident the Balearics will continue to be “a number one” destination this year.

What is true is that Nadal and the Ministry for Tourism is making a serious effort to drum up overseas business. Apart from attending the major travel fairs, special Balearic promotional events are going to be hosted in Manchester, London, Berlin and Paris while, as we reported yesterday, a television advert featuring tennis star Rafael Nadal, is going to be eventually shown across Europe once it has been given blanket coverage in Germany and the United Kingdom.

Nadal admitted yesterday that this year is going to be “complicated” but stressed that both the golf and nautical tourism sectors posted increases in activity and revenue of over five percent turning over 184 million and 537 million euros respectively.