LEADER of the Balearic Islands, Jaume Matas, acknowledged yesterday, that the most recent economic performance by the Balearic Islands shows that the region is “still a long way from recovering” the successful levels of the past. Matas believed that “there is still quite a stretch of road ahead” before the Islands become leaders in creation of wealth and jobs. “We have a great challenge before us, a heavy commitment: to bring the Balearics back to being number one in the country in wealth and job creation, and in economic growth which respects the environment”, signalled Matas after taking part in a Workers' Commission congress. He declared that “it is evident that we are not where we would like to be” and that reports such as those which emerged recently on last month's unemployment, make clear that we need to be “conscious of the work that lies ahead”. Matas urged business leaders and Unions alike to collaborate with the regional government to work on a united front. In order to make the Balearics, once again, the top holiday destination in Spain, “we've got to go down this road together” he said. Once a central government minister, Matas gave assurances that his mission of the moment is to “bring back the image of the Islands as a sought-after holiday destination” and to “re-establish good relations with the tourist sector”. He claimed that these had been ruined during the term of office of the previous Socialist regime and that if the Balearics were to enjoy economic success once more, it was crucial to open up dialogue and maintain a good understanding with business leaders in the tourist industry. Matas also wanted to see overseas promotional campaigns stepped up and investments made in the environment, water quality and cleanliness “in order to be able to compete with other markets”.