MINORCA is picking up on the success of the Majorcan Food Fair and will be launching its own gastronomic event in September this year, Antoni Mas, the President of the Restaurateurs' Association said yesterday.

The Majorcan Food Fair , which will continue until this Sunday, has served 20'150 plates of home-made cooking in its first five days, said Mas adding that attendance has climbed 4 percent in comparison with the same period last year.

He said that the most positive aspect of the fair for the 52 restaurants who have signed up to providing a specially priced menu of local delicacies, is that 70 percent of customers coming to their premises are not regulars, but rather newcomers.

Mas explained that this year there has been a major influx of foreign tourists and visitors from elsewhere in Spain. They have reportedly made their reservations at the restaurants taking part in the food fair from the hotels where they are staying and expressed a great interest in local gastronomy. “People who are resident foreigners here are by now well acquainted with the event,” said Mas.

The number of restaurants subscribing to the network has increased by 11 this year, and have covered 3 additional municipalities, he said. A booking system, Mas added, is in place so that visitors can be attended to properly rather than waiting to be served in long queues.

Balearic Tourism Minister, Joana Barcelo, said that it was of great importance to Minorca that it start its own Food Fair, a key strategy to meet the demands of the tourist community.

The Minister said that fine food and wine is forming a significant part of the regional strategy to upgrade tourism in the Islands. “Our gastronomy will help define the quality that the Balearics has to offer,” said Barcelo. She explained that the success of gastronomy will have positive knock-on effects for the agricultural and fisheries sector, and food manufacturing businesses in the region.

Francisco Carrasco, President of the Minorcan Restaurateurs' Association said that up to 30 restaurants will be taking part in the first Minorcan Food Fair.