BALEARIC Minister for Tourism, Joan Flaquer in London yesterday said that more money would be invested in environmental projects despite the demise of the controversial tourist tax Flaquer outlining his new vision for the Balearic tourist industry in London said that a new philosophy would be tourism yes, environment yes.
He said that as a result of better relations with the central administration in Madrid and the Balearic tourist industry, there will be greater funds available for green projects. The new minister also launched a broadside against the last administration claiming that 20% of the money raised through the tourist tax had been spent on publicity campaigns in the Balearics “Of the 6'900 million pesetas raised, 500 million were spent on general administration and 450 million on internal publicity campaigns. We have to give the right message to would-be tourists in Britain and Germany. Tourists shouldn't have to pay a tax to come on holiday, they already pay enough”. The Minister for tourism paying his first visit to London since his appointment two weeks ago, said that already the Madrid government had agreed to channel 24 million euros into a major reforestation campaign across the Balearics. This is one of the biggest environmental projects the island will have ever seen.
The Minister said that the one euro a day surcharge had severely damaged the image of the Balearics. “You got the impression from the last administration that if you were not prepared to pay the tax, you were not welcome. This caused an exceptional amount of damage to our principal industry and as a direct result we lost in excess of 2 million tourists over 3 years.” Flaquer said that they will be relaunching the image of the Islands. He underlined the importance of the forthcoming convention of British Travel Agents and indicated that the surcharge would not be in force when British travel agents gather in Palma in November. After talks with Martin Brackenbury, Chairman of the International Federation of Tour Operators, Flaquer announced an increase in the number of British tourists coming to the Islands this year. He said it would be marginally up.
After being quizzed over the demise of the tax by the British media at a lunch in central London yesterday, Flaquer said that it was technically impossible to abolish the tax before the Autumn because it involved a recall of Parliament. The Balearic minister for tourism accompanied by Eduardo Gomero, Director General for Tourism promotion, received a warm welcome in London yesterday and their message was well-received.


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