Palma.—Tourism Councillor at City Hall, Alvaro Gijon said that with Sunday opening starting in a designated area in the centre of Palma this April, around 200'000 tourists - half of them visitors from cruise ships - will be bringing an extra 15 million euros to businesses in the centre of the city.

Added to this, said Gijon, Majorca's residents who otherwise work during the week and want to take advantage of Sunday opening to catch up on their shopping, need to be taken into account.

The City Council has reportedly been given assurances by the large department stores, including the branch of Corté Inglés in Calle Jaume III that they will open on Sundays and public holidays during the April to October period.

Small to medium-sized business association “Afedeco” and the restaurateurs' association consisting of bars, cafés and restaurants have given their nod of approval to the promotion. Although the project has already been given the green light, the official seal of consent from the Balearic government is to be given at the Council's next full plenary session.

However, although tourist season Sunday opening might be seen by some as a blessing for a hard pressed retail sector struggling to pick up the pieces after a three year recession, not everyone is thrilled at the prospect of doing business on public holidays.

Majorca's small to medium-sized business association, Pimeco, maintains that Sunday openings “isn't good for small businesses.” Nevertheless, Pimeco President Bernat Coll said yesterday that his organisation will still have representation on a committee which is being set up by the City Council to monitor just what contribution is being made by Sunday opening to commerce in Palma. Coll pointed out that City Hall has already said that if the scheme to accommodate tourists and residents on public holidays doesn't pay dividends during the April to October season, businesses in the designated area won't be made to continue opening out of hours. Pimeco recently expressed concern that they had not been given enough representation on Palma City Council's new Tourism Foundation set up to promote all-year-round tourism in the municipality, but critics of Pimeco have said that their support of the Tourism Foundation - by default - should implicate them in opening on public holidays.