STAFF REPORTER MARKUS Soder, Environment Minister for the German region of Bavaria, has expressed his support for the candidacy of Majorca's Tramuntana mountain range to be classified as an international nature reserve or “biosphere” by UNESCO.

The news was given yesterday from Berlin where Balearic Environment Minister Miquel Angel Grimalt is attending an “Alternative Tourism” fair, Reisepavillon, in Munich. Bavaria and Majorca are to maintain ties and give mutual support in the development of projects aimed at conserving the countryside. The ministers agree on the fact that conservation is in itself a 21st century tourist attraction with visitors turning their backs on traditional sun, sea and sand holidays in favour of mountain walks and hiking through unspoiled terrain. Both regions acknowledged that their accord on environmental policy is important as both are members of the European Union - a fact which would be relevant at the time of going to Brussels to ask for funding for specific schemes. After tasting traditional Majorcan food products. Soder and Grimalt opened an exhibition at the fair which had been mounted by UNESCO to promote 2009 as the “International Year of the Biosphere Reserve”. Grimalt gave Soder an olive tree as a gift to be planted in the gardens of the Bavarian ministry.