AT the end of this month, Palma will follow the lead of other European capitals with the installation of hi-tech signposting to act as tourist information guides for visitors. The city's mayor, Catalina Cirer, gave the project an official public airing yesterday, placing it in the context of the European driven “Cultourmed” programme which aims to heighten cultural tourism. She was joined on the occasion by Catalina Bennassar, tourism deputy on Palma City Council. Cirer, who claimed that the scheme was very much in demand both by local people and businesses, said that the signposting was designed to make it easier for visitors to find out where to go and what to do, minimising the difficulties they might encounter in getting about the city. Similarly, she emphasised that “easy access” was the key theme underpinning the design and layout of the signposting. Acknowledging that Palma had a complicated urban and historic centre structure, the mayor gave full support to the project which would section off the points of interest most appealing to tourists. The idea was for the Balearic capital to fall in line with its counterparts elsewhere in Europe. The cost of the scheme, said Cirer, stands at 60'000 euros, a sum which has been financed jointly by Palma Town Council and the European Institute which is the driving force behind the programme. The installation will take place in three phases, the first of which will take two weeks to complete.
Throughout the city, 71 signposts will be erected, adding to the 600 already existing.
Bennassar explained that for the second and third phases (which will come into play in 2007), there will be a further 200 signs put up which will guide visitors to the city's most sought after monuments from a tourist and cultural viewpoint. Cirer thus laid great emphasis on how essential the project is to boost and encourage tourism to Palma, a city which is visited by more than eight million people every year. Palma already has an open-topped tourist bus which carries visitors to key sites but it cannot access the narrow historic centre of the city.