STAFF REPORTER HOTEL chains in the Balearics are giving their backing to moves by the regional Environment ministry to declare Majorca's Tramuntana mountains a special nature reserve, recognised internationally through UNESCO.

Minister Miquel Angel Grimalt said yesterday following a meeting with Balearic hotel chain representatives headed by Aurelio Vazquez, that the tourist companies were keen on the idea of the Tramuntana becoming a so-called “biosphere reserve.” Vazquez had reportedly said that the hoteliers in the island are pioneers in the defence of the environment and as such, they considered it “very positive” that such a geographically important area of Majorca such as the Tramuntana mountain range should be recognised with a “seal of quality”. It could, Vazquez furthered, actually promote tourism in the Island, although clearly not of the sun, sea and sand variety. Excursionism and hiking would be the order of the day for mountain scenery lovers, he suggested.