By Humphrey Carter PALMA

THE Secretary of State for Tourism and the Balearics Minister for Tourism, Joana Barcelo, yesterday signed an agreement which will involve both institutions working together in a new scheme to improve quality of services in the tourism sector.

Last week, Barcelo called on the Balearic tourist industry to make a concerted effort to improve the quality of services in an attempt to boost tourism spending which decreased by 13 percent during the first quarter of this year, bucking the national trend which has experienced a five percent rise in spending by foreign holiday makers.

In the Balearics there are 52 establishments which have been awarded with the Q for quality award and six of the region's main tourist resorts, Palma, Ibiza, Minorca, Alcudia, Formentera and Pollensa, have already signed up to the new tourism quality scheme.

The Balearics have been heavily criticised by individual visitors and the main tour operators for having allowed standards to slip while prices have risen and it appears that the industry has finally understood the message which the British travel industry has been trying to get across all winter, that value for money is going to be crucial this summer.

The European holiday markets, in particular in Britain, is still very price sensitive and as a result is going to be price driven.
The Majorcan hotel sector has unveiled huge discounts for this month and possibly more to follow in June in an attempt to boost holiday sales between now and the peak summer months.

The first major influx of British holidaymakers arrived in Palma on Saturday when the new Co-operative Holidays launched their summer season.