By Humphrey Carter

PALMA'S new convention centre and luxury hotel complex will finally open at either the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011 - providing work starts within the next three weeks.

As the Bulletin reported last week, the five-star hotel will be two storeys higher than initially planned by architect Patxi Mangado, but it will not rise any higher than the GESA building and the number of bedrooms has been reduced.

It would appear that the final design of the convention project is ready to be built and Palma city council is confident that construction work will start within the next three weeks.

Work on clearing the site between the GESA building and along past the Ifebal exhibition centre, which is currently being knocked down, started before Christmas and now, excavation work can begin.

The project is expected to take 30 months to complete and is going to be the jewel of Balearic business tourism industry's crown.
The business and convention tourism sector is considered to be very important for the future development of the Balearic tourist industry.
The region's geographical position in Europe, within two hours flying time from most of the major capitals, makes the Balearics an ideal location for businesses tourism and conventions. However, while Majorca's infrastructure has been significantly improved over recent years, the island's convention facilities have not and the sector believes that the new Palma convention centre will give the market the boost it needs. Last year, for example, Majorca hosted a total of 2.240 national and international conventions and corporate events.

Just over 400 of those events were organised on behalf of British companies and were attended by 102'000 delegates, according to the MCB Mallorca Convention Bureau which has spent the past 28 years promoting and developing the island's business tourism sector and now represents 66 companies which are all involved in hosting and organising corporate events in Majorca.