By Humphrey Carter

IT was Balearic Day at the Fitur tourism fair in Madrid yesterday and delegates munched and drank their way through a tonne of sobrassada (Majorcan sausage), over 1'000 kilos of almonds, Minorcan cheese, Majorcan wine, “hierbas” liqueurs and tonnes of ensaimadas as the Balearics mounted its biggest promotional spectacle yet in the Spanish capital.

Balearic President, Francesc Antich, gave a press conference at 1pm on the Balearic stand which was the scene of a number of special presentations throughout the day, including cycle tourism and Hilton's new Sa Torre hotel in Majorca.

However, the main event was in the Plaza de Colon, one of Madrid's most emblematic squares.
Over the past few days, a huge marquee has been set up to house a special “Columbus discovered the Balearics” exhibition and it was inaugurated yesterday evening by Antich and the speaker of the Balearic Parliament Maria Antonia Munar.

The Balearic fair ground will remain open all weekend and a host of special events have been organised. There is a live music stage on which Balearic band and DJs from Ibiza will be performing. Minorcan horse exhibitions are being staged every hour and a correfoc fire run every night. Traditional food and drink will be on offer and there is a permanent display of arts and crafts from the Balearics. The 3'000 square metre promotional exhibit is the most ambitious initiative to have been mounted by the Ministry for Tourism and if possible, will be repeated in London and Paris to coincide with the cities' tourism fairs.