JOAN Flaquer yesterday took up his official appointment as minister for tourism in the Balearics and Government spokesman. He announced that amongst his department's priorities is the setting up of a framework of social representation, to be “as wide as possible”, that coherently draws together the interests of the sector. Flaquer made it known that the creation of this agenda “has the personal seal of the Government leader“ (Jaume Matas) and that the resulting constitution would be pivotal in “promoting solutions to current problems”. The new tourism chief added that amongst other key tasks in his ministry over the next few months will be to recuperate the leading role in the holiday industry the Balearics once held, sending out a “message of anticipation and hope”. “This government”, he continued, “believes in tourism and firmly acknowledges that this industry is our major source of income. We have to cultivate it and care for it.” Flaquer also commented that “tourism and the environment go hand in hand” and both areas “can complement one another”.
As a result, collaboration between his department of tourism and that of the environment, headed by Jaume Font, is seen as an extremely important issue. Flaquer plans to work “elbow to elbow” with his counterpart. “Investment in the environment is going to be on a large scale as we recognize the crucial need for conservation, but it should be linked to the generation of economic activity that will justify such investment”, he pointed out. The tourism chief went on to refer to the repeal of the eco-tax, commonly known as the “Tourist tax”, as being an electoral commitment of his party. The intention of the new Balearic government is to abolish this tax after listening to viewpoints of representatives from across society when the new constitution to deal with the tourist industry is set up. Regarding the creation of a law on holiday homes, Flaquer said that it is “fundamental” to control the situation in this sector and put an end to the “legal vacuum” that exists there.

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