STAFF REPORTER THE regional ministry for Tourism is planning to spend 44 million euros of state funding on a number of projects aimed at improving the Balearic Islands' competitivity and hotel occupancy rates, government spokesman Joana Barcelo said yesterday.

The move she said, is a reflection of the regional government's policy to focus on providing quality tourism rather than competing at the “bottom end” of the market. Barcelo was speaking in Parliament in reply to questions by opposition Partido Popular (PP) MP, Joan Flaquer, who had wanted to know how the government intends to address the current challenges facing the tourist industry in the region.

On the subject of the delayed reform of the Playa de Palma, Barcelo said a “master plan” is due to come into force in March to speed up the project.